Amidst ongoing focus on his level of support with Latino voters, Joe Biden traveled to Florida yesterday for events in Tampa and Kissimmee, released a plan on how he would support Puerto Rico, and conducted an interview with Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart in which he reiterated his top immigration priorities.
Alongside a series of other immigration policy developments on display this week, it served as a reminder of the sharp contrast between the two presidential candidates and their parties on immigration and the treatment of immigrants and Latinos.
Among the key points of contrast on display:
- Biden highlights top priority of citizenship while Trump continues effort to strip protections and deport long-settled immigrants: During the Telemundo interview, Biden reiterated his priority to reinstate DACA and pass legislation with a clear roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, including Dreamers, noting: “I’m going to reinstate it [DACA] and then they’re going to be part of what I’m going to send to the United States Congress. It’s a total immigration bill to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people in the United States of America.” Meanwhile, President Trump continues to seek to strip protections and deport long-settled immigrants – including TPS holders, Dreamers with and without DACA, and the rest of the 11 million. As the New York Times recently reported, ICE has stepped up a nationwide enforcement effort that has focused on immigrants with long-standing roots in the U.S. and no criminal records.
- Biden and Democrats pushing for TPS protections for Venezuelans and other countries while Trump seeks to end TPS: Following the disappointing Ramos Ninth Circuit decision that sided with Trump and his effort to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protections for 300,000 individuals, a Biden campaign spokesperson noted, “TPS recipients and their families, whether from Nicaragua, Haiti, or any country affected by this inhumane decision, should be assured that Joe Biden will continue to fight for a fair, humane, and orderly immigration system that is defined by compassion, not cruelty.” Meanwhile, later today, Senate Democrats are seeking unanimous consent for legislation that would establish TPS for 200,000 Venezuelans in the United States. Our unfortunate prediction is that Senate Republicans will find a way to scuttle the effort, again, despite several of them supposedly supporting the concept. Broader legislation, the Dream and Promise Act (H.R.6), also drives home the contrast between the parties – the bill would provide citizenship for Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders and passed the House last year, but has been blocked in the GOP-controlled Senate.
- Biden talks about undoing Trump’s cruelty toward immigrants as we see horrifying examples of Trump’s dehumanization of newcomers. During the Telemundo interview, Biden reiterated his plan for a moratorium on deportations “for the first hundred days … the only people who will be deported are people who committed a felony while here.” Other planks of Biden’s immigration policy vision include efforts to keep families together, in contrast to the moral stain of Trump’s family separation policies, and to end private detention, in contrast to the horrifying whistleblower allegations of medical negligence and of forced hysterectomies in ICE-contracted detention.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Americans have made clear by a large majority they want a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and a fair and humane immigration system. The question of ‘how to treat immigrants’ goes right to the heart of the larger question of ‘what vision of America do we aspire to?’ As has been on display this campaign, the contrast between the candidates and the parties could not be sharper.
Trump’s relentless demonization of immigrants has forced Americans to choose. And the majority of the public stands with Joe Biden and his vision of an optimistic America that would end the cruelty and inhumanity that we’ve witnessed the past four years. Biden will promote, not block citizenship. Biden will promote, not prevent legal immigration. Biden will provide a legal process to evaluate the claims of those seeking asylum, including vulnerable children, not deport them or drive them out without a hearing. Biden will end the use of private detention centers where abuse is rife. Biden envisions an immigration system that protects everyone’s dignity and builds a country that works for all of us, no matter our background, birthplace, race or creed.
The contrast between the parties on immigration comes as new polling of 1,500 likely voters across 12 battleground states from Global Strategy Group (GSG) shows that Trump’s anti-immigrant political strategy is not working. In polling conducted August 28 – September 7 for The Immigration Hub, FWD.us and America’s Voice, Trump’s policies and positions on his signature immigration issue are losing him more votes than they gain.