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Turning the Page on Trump’s War on Immigrants: Biden Offers Roadmap

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Presidential Proclamation and Leaked Report Offer New Vision

Washington, DC – Are President Biden and the Democrats serious about undoing the legacy of Stephen Miller and Donald Trump’s relentless effort to keep out legal immigrants and deny citizenship, especially to non-white immigrants? According to a front-page New York Times piece over the weekend, the answer is yes.

Michael Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs report on a 46-page internal Biden administration document dated May 3 outlining a plan to restore legal immigration and citizenship in order to undo years of obstacles put in place by Miller and Trump. Meanwhile, President Biden’s proclamation today announcing June as Immigrant Heritage Month 2021 restates his commitment to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

According to the Times coverage, the plan is divided into seven sections. It details how the Biden team plans to make legal immigration, citizenship, asylum and protecting vulnerable populations more attainable. These include reducing backlogs for visas and other petitions, to having USCIS facilitate legal entry and citizenship, to undoing Trump changes that made it harder for domestic violence victims, LGBTQ asylum seekers and witnesses to crimes who cooperate with authorities to receive legal protections. According to the Times

[W]hile Mr. Biden made clear during his presidential campaign that he intended to undo much of his predecessor’s immigration legacy, the blueprint offers new details about how far-reaching the effort will be — not only rolling back Mr. Trump’s policies, but addressing backlogs and delays that plagued prior presidents.

In the President’s proclamation today, President Biden articulates his vision – very different from his predecessor – for embracing citizenship and to “rebuild trust in our immigration system.” 

Nearly 11 million people in this country are undocumented — and it is time that the Congress acts by passing the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, the immigration reform plan that I introduced on day one of my Presidency. My plan would provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency and citizenship for these undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers, individuals with Temporary Protected Status, farm workers, and other essential workers who contribute to our Nation every day.

The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

From his bully pulpit, Trump was the consummate bully against immigrants, refugees, Black people and other people of color. Meanwhile his henchmen, Stephen Miller and Ken Cuccinelli, systematically erected barriers to citizenship, legal status for those here or those coming, and all but ended America’s commitment to refugees and asylum seekers who flee their homes seeking safety. 

With his considerable megaphone, President Biden is reinforcing why we need to turn the page on Trump’s cruelty, allow citizenship and legal immigration to flourish, and build towards a fair and generous immigration system that comports with our values, our laws, and our interests. 

A multiracial majority elected this President and the Democrats to do big things to help the country, improve lives and help us recover from the twin traumas of Donald Trump’s presidency and the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, most Republicans seem determined to undermine voting, damage our democracy and shrink citizenship rather than expand it. It’s time for Democrats to take the bull by the horns and fight to reestablish legal immigration and citizenship as fundamental ingredients in America’s success. The plan reported on in the New York Times is a good start.