tags: Press Releases

“Whiplash”- Contradictory U.S. Immigration Policy Continues to Lack Consistent or Well-Articulated Strategy

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Washington, DC – An important story from Rafael Bernal in The Hill, “Immigration agencies struggle with ‘mismatched’ laws, policy whiplash,” underscores the frequently contradictory nature of U.S. immigration policies. As Bernal writes, “American immigration policy is enforced by a sprawling bureaucracy rebuilt in the aftermath of 9/11 from the bones of a 20th century system designed to modulate the flow of temporary workers from Mexico. The resulting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hosts three major immigration agencies with a workforce weary of radical policy changes from administration to administration.”

We would add that even within this single administration, the same policy “whiplash” is frequently on display, as America’s Voice has pointed out. Just yesterday, the Biden administration announced both a new legal pathway for Ecuadorians – helping to reduce pressure on the border, reunify families and advance legal solutions (see America’s Voice’s full statement in reaction here) – and resumed deportation flights to Venezuela, deporting individuals back to the country after granting other Venezuelans TPS in part due to dangerous country conditions on the ground.

As Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told Rafael Bernal: “I think that the lesson we ought to have learned by now is that deterrence doesn’t work when desperate people are fleeing for their lives.”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“We continue to see the Biden administration lurch from a series of sensible policies to address migration to a series of enforcement proposals that we know don’t work. Migration is a challenge that the U.S. has both the capacity and the ability to address, but there needs to be consistent strategy that is well-articulated at the highest level of government (see more from America’s Voice here on specific recommended approaches for the Biden administration to respond to the policy and political challenges). While reforming our immigration system lies in the hands of Congress, the Biden administration can and must articulate  their vision for short-term order and longer-term stability and draw sharp contrasts with the cruelty, chaos and dysfunction of the Republican Party. “