Vanessa Cárdenas: “Ultimately, it is Congress that needs to modernize our immigration system, but in the interim, the administration should define and advance its strategy while preventing Republicans from advancing cruel and failed deterrence only approaches.”
Washington, DC – America’s Voice has been calling for the Biden administration to better articulate and define its immigration and border strategy. In an important op-ed published in the Washington Post, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas does just that, succinctly defining a policy vision for addressing global migration and making a powerful case for why Congress should deliver on a border funding request instead of playing politics or advancing cruel policies that would create chaos instead of order (see earlier assessments from America’s Voice here on specific recommended approaches for the Biden administration to respond to the policy and political challenges of the moment).
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“All along, we have been saying that it is much better for President Biden and his team to lean in and define the administration’s strategy on immigration. We welcome Secretary Mayorkas outlining this vision in the context of the larger need to address global migration and the specific border funding request in front of Congress. We don’t agree with every priority the President and Secretary Mayorkas have advanced on immigration, but articulating their strategy is an important step forward. The bottom line is we need to process asylum seekers efficiently, secure our borders intelligently, invest in ports of entry, and provide work permits as fast as possible to those immigrants who qualify. Ultimately, it is Congress that needs to modernize our immigration system, but in the interim, the administration should define and advance its strategy while preventing Republicans from advancing cruel and failed deterrence only approaches.”
Read the Washington Post op-ed by Secretary Mayorkas, “Congress must bring our border security into the 21st century,” and find key excerpts below:
“Too many elected officials believe that making cable TV appearances to decry a broken system is better for their politics than equipping our nation’s front-line officers with the resources they need to carry out their difficult jobs.
Ensuring the safety and security of the American people is more than just a talking point. It is a national imperative. That is why the Biden-Harris administration has requested critical supplemental homeland and border security funding from Congress as part of a broader global-security budget request that includes funding to help Israel fight Hamas terrorists and Ukraine counter Russian aggression. Congress must pass it.
…economic, political and climate instability exacerbated in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic is fueling the greatest level of global migration since World War II, particularly in our hemisphere. To stem the effects of this historic migration, we have pursued a comprehensive strategy to increase enforcement at the border and return those who are ineligible for protection under the law, expand lawful pathways for migration and accelerate work permits, and work with our partners across the region to curb irregular migration and ensure that those seeking refuge do so in a safe and orderly manner.
Our funding request will enable the hiring and deployment of 1,300 new Border Patrol agents, 1,400 attorneys and staff to support immigration cases and 2,700 new asylum officers and staff. It will increase our capacity for safe and humane border enforcement, with temporary holding facilities and more detention beds for individuals placed in expedited removal proceedings. It will provide $1.4 billion to the cities and other communities that need additional support, and expedite the issuance of work authorization documents for eligible noncitizens.
To be clear, this supplemental funding is like a tourniquet — urgently needed and critical in the short-term, but not a long-term solution to a deep-seated problem. Our national immigration laws, having last gone through major revisions by Congress in 1996, are severely out-of-date, and our system is completely broken. On this, everyone agrees.
Only Congress can bring our immigration and border security systems into the 21st century. Our administration is eager to work with Congress to deliver for the American people and the men and women who protect our country.”