According to Capitol Hill insiders, President-elect Biden’s first matter of business will be to pass immigration amnesty legislation. Biden promised to, as he described his intentions, “introduce” an immigration bill within his administration’s first 100 days. And without wasting a moment, the president-elect’s advisors met last week with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chair Rep. Raul Ruiz, and other House amnesty proponents, to develop a strategy to move forward. In December, signaling their party’s intention for the 117th Congress, Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) introduced a bill with the short title of the “Seasonal Worker Solidarity Act of 2020.”
Biden’s staff is still ironing out further details, but if he’s is serious about his 100-day timeline, then a bill that legalizes deferred action for childhood arrivals, (DACAs) would be his path of least resistance. The DACA population is relatively small; the Migration Policy Institute puts the total as of June 2020 at about 650,000. And the Pew Research Center’s push-polling on DACAs found that 74 percent of Americans favor legalizing DREAMers, a 2012 program that President Obama initiated through an Executive Branch memorandum.
Strategically, moving forward on a full amnesty will be tricky for the new administration. First, workable guidelines must be developed. No one knows how many illegal immigrants currently reside in the U.S., with estimates ranging from 12 million to 30 million. Amnesty advocates and the legacy media use the smaller total; others including Arturo Sarukhan, the former ambassador to the U.S. from Mexico, cite 30 million as more accurate.
A related immigration puzzle pertains to the caravans gathered at the border overheard to be chanting “Biden, Biden.” Latest reports indicate that large numbers of Hondurans have already headed North, and anticipate arriving at the Southwest Border before January 20, Inauguration Day, and just in time, they hope, to cash in on amnesty.
Social media is instrumental in forming the caravans, and even if migrants are turned away initially, they invariably regroup to try once more. To date, the Biden team has shown little interest in border enforcement, and instead has outlined an expansive plan to increase immigration at all levels. Biden intends to “promptly undo” the asylum accords that President Trump has negotiated with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as to eventually end the Remain in Mexico policy which has been effective at curtailing amnesty fraud.
Other changes that President-elect Biden would like to implement include lifting the H-1B visa cap, which would serve well his Silicon Valley masters, and importing more low-skilled workers who would compete with American citizens with less than a college education for scarce jobs. About 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
Millions of Americans oppose amnesty, for understandable reasons. Amnesty means that the federal government will pardon illegal immigrants for breaking U.S. immigration laws and using false Social Security numbers or other fraudulently obtained state identification cards that enable them to gain employment and unlawfully remain in the country.
Biden’s immigration agenda is exceptionally aggressive, especially for an incoming president whose victory edge in key swing states was narrow. In Pennsylvania, Biden’s margin over President Trump was 50.0 percent to 48.8 percent; in Arizona, 49.4 percent to 49.0 percent; in Georgia, 49.5 percent to 49.3 percent, and in Nevada, 50.0 percent to 48.0 percent. And with the 2020 House of Representatives election a far-cry from the big blue, plus-20 seat wave that Democrats predicted — instead, the GOP gained about 12 seats — President-elect Biden may be well advised to start off slowly with his immigration agenda lest he begin his tenure with big border backfires.
On January 20, President Trump will be gone from office. But newly elected President Biden should remember that gone doesn’t mean forgotten, especially among those faithful 75 million voters who want to keep Trumpism.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.