While President Biden has been a strong advocate for immigration since his inauguration, pressure is rising to accept more asylum seekers and refugees. Here’s what you should know.
Immigration advocates and lawmakers are asking the President to stop turning away asylum seekers and invest more money into providing pathways to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
Now that the COVID-19 green card freeze is over and the Stay in Mexico policy is expired, more immigrants and asylees are entering the country without a place to go or guaranteed provisions. Many of these people started their immigration journey before being abruptly sent back under a restrictive Trump-era policy.
Now that they can return to the U.S., border communities are pushing back. Additionally, there are already millions of undocumented immigrants living and working here who Biden promised a pathway to citizenship.
COVID and economic issues have certainly been a distraction and a constant source of stress for lawmakers, but another major concern is the refugees coming from Afghanistan. Since the Taliban seized power and U.S. troops withdrew, millions of Afghans have fled the regime searching for safety and security.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees have already come to America, but the government has turned away thousands more – a move that is challenging Biden’s promises to improve immigration.
A Trump-era pandemic rule is standing in the way of security for thousands of refugees and asylum seekers. Despite promising to overturn many of former President Trump’s immigration policies, President Biden has yet to reverse the cap on asylees.
Title 42, the ruling that is the center of controversy, angers many supporters who view it as more of a block against asylees than an effort to protect public health. Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute, says,
“[…] if we don’t have the political courage to at least restore the modicum of rights that asylum-seekers have at the border, the moving of those goalposts and the eroding of those rights will be the new normal.”
So far, Biden has followed through on many campaign promises, including the remain in Mexico policy and creating a task force to help reunite children with their parents who were separated at the border and in detention centers.
However, progress on his sweeping promise to create pathways to citizenship has stalled. In light of Texas’ ruling declaring DACA illegal, beneficiaries of the program are at risk of losing their status while others may not be able to benefit from it at all.
Protection for these immigrants is imperative, but many advocates are concerned that the President is not pursuing action quickly enough. Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum questions Biden’s commitment to the cause and begs the question:
“And are we going to be able to treat the immigrants who I’ve come to know and love through church, through work, through school – are we going to treat them compassionately?”
The President is in a difficult position as millions of immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and dreamers are holding him accountable for his campaign promises. It’s unclear how this situation will evolve, but for now, the immigration system remains in limbo.
Lim Law, P.A. will continue to observe this situation as it develops.