- The contrast between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s immigration policies is stark
- If Biden were to become president, he would return to many of the same immigration policies in place during the Obama Administration
- This would include protecting and expanding the DACA programme, admitting at least 125,000 refugees annually and seeking amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens
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Before the United States (US) tightened its borders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump had set about reshaping America’s immigration system.
Promises to crack down on illegal immigration and erect a wall along the Mexican border formed the centrepiece of his election campaign in 2016.
The Heritage Foundation, however, reported polls suggested Americans generally had a more generous view toward immigrants than Trump does. However, opinions are divided along partisan lines and for those who lean towards Trump, immigration is a galvanising issue.
Trump's Democratic challenger in the November 3 election, former vice president Joe Biden, embraces immigration as fundamental to the national character. Here is an analysis of Biden's immigration policy.
According to Biden's 50-plan for American, the Democratic candidate intends to roll back immigration changes made during the Trump Administration. This would make a Biden administration look much like the Obama administration on immigration matters as indicated on his website, joebiden.com.
Joe Biden stated he would not build another foot of border wall in his administration. According to his campaign website, a Biden administration would stop using Department of Defense funding to build the wall.
“Building a wall will do little to deter criminals and cartels seeking to exploit our borders,” his website states.
He further claimed that he would instead direct federal resources to smart border enforcement efforts like investments in improving screening infrastructure at ports of entry.
Rather than between the ports of entry, Biden stated that “all the bad stuff is happening” at the ports of entry.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA)
Biden’s campaign website states dreamers and their parents should have a roadmap to citizenship through legislative immigration reform.
However, in the meantime, he will remove the uncertainty for Dreamers by reinstating the DACA programme, which was established by former President Barrack Obama.
He will also explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation. Biden would also make “Dreamers” eligible for federal student aid (loans, Pell grants) and debt-free community college.
It is important to note that DACA recipients are those who applied for and received DACA benefits from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and their number is approximately 825,000.
On the other hand, Dreamers are a broad label for anyone who went to the US illegally by up to age 18 on the date a Dreamer bill would be enacted. The Dreamer population is estimated to be at least 3.6 million
The Biden campaign states that a Biden administration would immediately and aggressively advocate for legislation to keep families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The campaign justifies amnesty for 11 million illegal aliens by stating they had been living in and strengthening the country for years.
"These are our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. They are our neighbours, co-workers and members of our congregations and Little League teams," stated the campaign.
"They contribute in countless ways to our communities, workforce, and economy," it added.
The Biden campaign website states it will rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as “Muslim bans.” The campaign said the Trump administration’s anti-Muslim bias hurts the economy, betrays the country's values and serves as a powerful terrorist recruiting tool.
"Prohibiting Muslims from entering the country is morally wrong and there is no intelligence or evidence that suggests it makes our nation more secure," it says.
"It is yet another abuse of power by the Trump administration designed to target primarily black and brown immigrants. Biden will immediately rescind the Muslim bans," it added.
Sanctuary Jurisdictions and ICE
The Biden campaign makes no mention of sanctuary jurisdictions on its website. It does, however, discuss Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Biden will direct enforcement efforts toward threats to public safety and national security.
He will, at the same time, ensure that individuals are treated with the due process to which they are entitled and their human rights are protected.
Biden will end workplace raids to ensure that threats based on workers’ status do not interfere with their ability to organise and improve their wages and working conditions. He will also protect sensitive locations from immigration enforcement actions.
No one should be afraid to seek medical attention, go to school, their job or their place of worship for fear of an immigration enforcement action.
In addition, a Biden administration would ensure that ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) personnel abide by professional standards and are held accountable for inhumane treatment.
According to the Biden campaign website, Biden would end many of President Trump’s asylum policies, starting with the MPP.
Instead of returning asylum applicants to Mexico to await their court dates, Biden would direct the necessary resources to ensure asylum applications are processed fairly and efficiently. This will be done while ensuring families and children are treated with compassion and sensitivity.
He would dramatically increase US government resources to support aliens awaiting assessment of their asylum claims and the network of organisations.
If elected President, Biden would set the annual refugee admissions cap to 125,000 and seek to raise it over time. He would also revive the CAM programme for children seeking to reunify with US relatives, allowing them to apply for entry from their home countries.
It will expand efforts to register and process refugees in the Central American region for resettlement in the US and other countries. Furthermore, Biden would send humanitarian aid and assistance to Central American countries that are receiving refugees.
"As a leader in the region, the US has a responsibility to help our neighbours and partners process and support refugees and asylum seekers," his campaign website states.
"This will also help relieve the pressure at our own border," it adds.
Public charge rule
A Biden administration would reverse Trump’s public charge rule. The campaign states the rule runs counter to the country's values as Americans and the history of the nation.
Temporary Protected Status
A Biden Administration would order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries.
The Biden campaign states that the Trump Administration’s politically-motivated decisions to rescind protected status for these countries were a “recipe for disaster".
Biden promises his administration would protect TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure holders from being returned to countries that are unsafe and offer them a path to citizenship through legislation.
Merit-based/family-based immigration and diversity visa
Biden not only disagrees with pursuing a merit-based immigration system but would expand family-based chain migration.
His administration would allow any approved family visa beneficiary, whose green card is not yet available due to the annual country cap, to receive a temporary visa and enter the US until the permanent visa (green card) becomes available.
“High-Skilled” (H-1B) visas
The Biden campaign website states that high skilled temporary visas should not be used to dis-incentivise recruiting workers already in the US for in-demand occupations.
He would seek to protect high-skilled wages and workers and expand the number of visas offered, according to his campaign.
Employment-based permanent visas
The Biden campaign states that if he is elected president, he would work with Congress to increase the number of permanent employment-based visas based on macroeconomic conditions.
He also favours eliminating the country caps on employment-based visas, stating they create unacceptably long backlogs. He would also exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programmes in STEM fields in the US.
According to his campaign website, Biden believes foreign graduates of a US doctoral programme should be given a green card with their degree. The campaign believes losing these highly-trained workers to foreign economies was a disservice to the country's own economic competitiveness.
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that Jennifer Aniston took to social media recently to caution Americans against voting for rapper Kanye West. The actress revealed that she voted for Democrat candidate Joe Biden.
She shared a snap of herself mailing her ballot. The Hollywood star captioned her post:
"#IVOTED for @joebiden and @kamalaharris. I dropped my ballot off, and I did it early. I voted for them because right now this country is more divided than ever."
Jennifer discouraged her followers from voting for Kanye but urged them to vote responsibly instead.
"It’s not funny to vote for Kanye. I don’t know how else to say it. Please be responsible."
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