Day One Immigration Efforts: President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top story from the Associated Press: “President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the US without legal status.” Meanwhile, “thousands of migrants from Honduras fleeing violence, devastation caused in the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes and economic hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic are in Guatemala and moving towards Mexico, hoping to ultimately reach the US,” KNEB notes. In regards to both headlines, the AP points out that “Biden has promised to take a different approach to immigration and even though immediate changes at the US border are not expected, it has created some hope in Central America.” Here’s what both sides are saying about some of Biden’s immediate immigration policies:
On the Right: Conservatives and right-leaning outlets are concerned to varying degrees about the new administration’s immigration stance. In an opinion piece for the New York Post, John Daniel Davidson writes “Biden is opening the door to a mess on Day 1.” Davidson says “After repeatedly promising to reverse the Trump administration’s strict immigration and border policies, the incoming Biden administration suddenly realizes there are consequences.” For example, a senior Biden administration transition official recently said migrants “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately.” Davidson writes that “When you promise to end — ‘on Day One’—a Trump program that requires Central American asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are being adjudicated, effectively endorsing a return to the ‘catch-and-release’ policies of the past, it’s entirely reasonable for thousands of Hondurans to conclude that if they can get into the US after Biden is sworn in, they can stay.” Ultimately, Davidson says “Biden’s plea to migrants not to illegally enter the US just yet will be completely ignored — and Biden will have no one but himself to blame.”
On the Left: Progressives and left-leaning outlets are more open-minded and optimistic about the Biden administration’s stance toward immigration. The San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board says Biden’s immigration “to-do list shows that he rightly has made a priority of treating people coming to the United States with policies that are both pragmatic and humane.” The outlet calls this “a sharp contrast to Trump’s hostile, divisive and counterproductive agenda.” The Chronicle also says “This nation’s long-avoided addressing of a broken immigration system is more of perennial crisis, and Biden’s willingness to tackle it shows that he is willing to go beyond symbolism or simplistic but ultimately illusory promises like Trump’s pledge to build a 1,000-mile wall along the border and make Mexico pay for it.” They believe Biden’s immigration push speaks to his calls for unity. “The presence of immigration reform on a priority list suggests Biden’s sincerity about his pledge to work across party lines [since] it would require legislation from Congress.” In conclusion, the Chronicle says, “The recent history of immigration policy has underscored the importance of legislation to provide a reality-based system that won’t be subject to the whims of executive orders that swing between liberal and conservative depending on who is in the Oval Office. Biden deserves credit for taking it on.”
Flag This: According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, containing the coronavirus and repairing the economy greatly outweigh any other issues in the eyes of the American public. “Overall, 53% of Americans name COVID-19 as one of the top five issues they want the government to tackle this year, and 68% mention in some way the economy, which is still reeling from the outbreak. In an open-ended question, those priorities far outpace others, like foreign affairs, climate change, racial inequality, or immigration.” The poll highlights that “Immigration, the issue that helped put Trump in the White House in 2016, dropped from 35% last year among all Americans to 18% now. It remains a higher priority for Republicans, with 24% mentioning immigration, though that is down from 51% one year ago.”