Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden revealed plans to undo all of the Trump administration’s immigration policies if elected in November and vowed to provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
Approximately 11 million people who are illegally residing in the United States would be given a way to become U.S. citizens, the opposite of President Trump’s 2016 campaign promise not to give “amnesty” to this demographic. People who worked in essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic would have an advantage over other immigrants.
Biden’s plan was heavily influenced by former campaign foe, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is further left than Biden on the issue. The Biden campaign said its focus in reforming immigration policies, including refugee levels, asylum protocols, and detention center standards, is meant to bring in a new era of justice and law enforcement, countering “systemic racism” in the immigration system.
A Biden administration’s first 100 days in office would include a halt on all deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but he would not abolish the federal agency, despite calls by more progressive lawmakers to do so. Biden would cut up ICE’s contracts with for-profit detention facilities, which ICE uses to hold tens of thousands of detainees nationwide.
Refugee levels would dramatically increase to 125,000 admissions per year, more than six times the 18,000 that Trump approved for fiscal 2020. Asylum seekers would not be forced to wait in Mexico while court cases progress.
The travel bans that affected predominantly Muslim countries would be rescinded, and those who were turned away from traveling to the U.S. would be encouraged to reapply.
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