Politics

Biden’s Immigration Reforms Could Prompt A Surge Of Migrants At The Southern Border, Expert Says

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President Joe Biden is planning to send a bill to Congress that includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status, signaling that the new administration will provide more opportunities for immigrants to come to the U. S.

Biden will reverse elements of the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies, and the anticipation of such actions could create a surge of migrants at the southern U. S. border hoping to gain entry to the country, Mike Howell, an immigration policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller.

Biden will also move to preserve the Obama-era Deferred Action or Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields illegal immigrants who came to the U. S. as children from deportation.

“After DACA discussions during the Obama administration, there was a surge. After Biden won the presidency, there has been a surge of caravans on the way,” Howell said. “We underestimate how much these NGOs and those spreading information south of the border to the caravan organizers truly understand American law and our immigration policies.”

Under Biden’s 8-year path to citizenship plan, all illegal immigrants who began living in the U. S. by January 1, 2021 will have a 5-year path to temporary legal status, so long as they pay taxes and pass a background check. Following an additional three years, they would be able to apply for U.S. citizenship. Biden will also sign a presidential memorandum that would preserve DACA.

Other immigration policy changes include a reversal of the travel ban that Trump implemented, which affected several Muslim-majority countries, and a pause on border wall construction, CNN reported.

Howell says the amnesty that the Biden administration is pushing is the “largest in American history.”

Biden may have to contend with increased arrivals at the border soon. An estimated 9,000 Honduran migrants are fleeing conditions in their home country. Nearly 2,000 members of a migrant caravan pushed past Guatemalan authorities Friday, circumventing documentation and COVID-19 screenings while entering Guatemala. The Mexican authorities have deployed troops to stop the arrival of the caravan on its border, which has the goal of reaching the U. S., the New York Times reported. But those that evade security could soon reach the southern U.S. border.

“They’re well aware that the system will be relaxed. Even the rhetoric of saying you will relax consequences and relax border security causes rushes,” Howell said.

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