By Luis Miguel
The immigration lobby isn’t losing time.
On the same day he was installed in the White House, Joe Biden halted construction of President Trump’s border wall and issued a 100-day “pause” on the deportation of illegal aliens as part of a sweeping suite of actions on immigration on his first day in office.
At Biden’s direction, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske signed a memorandum to review immigration enforcement policies. That includes a 100-day pause, starting Friday, of “certain noncitizens ordered deported.”
“The pause will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” DHS said in a statement.
The move is in line with promises Biden made during the campaign, when he vowed to implement a 100-day moratorium that would apply to any non-citizen with a final order of removal, with very limited exceptions.
The moratorium ostensibly excludes any illegal alien who has engaged in terrorism or espionage or who poses a danger to national security, as well as those who were not present in the United States before November 1, 2020, those who agreed to waive the right to remain, and those whom the ICE director individually determined need be removed by law.
Biden’s pause on construction of the wall along the southern border is apparently in effect while the administration studies whether it can redivert money that has been assigned to additional wall mileage.
Also on Wednesday, Biden signed a memorandum to protect Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects aliens brought to the country illegally as children from deportation. President Trump tried to end the program but was struck down by the Supreme Court.
Biden’s memorandum orders the DHS secretary to take appropriate lawful action to keep the program in place.
In addition, Biden signed an executive order ending President Trump’s temporary travel ban on people coming from terror hotspots (the so-called Muslim Ban).
Other orders include one to revoke the Trump administration’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and the apportionment of congressional seats, and another to extend the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) designation for Liberians in the country until June 2022.
To truly open the floodgates of mass migration, Biden will need more than executive orders. He’ll need legislation. Luckily for him, he now has Democrat control of both houses of Congress to work with.
A legislative proposal unveiled by the Biden transition team this week would provide a path to citizenship for at least 11 million illegal aliens. The legislation has drawn criticism from conservatives and those favoring a more responsible approach to immigration.
“The amnesty bill that Reagan signed in ’86, as well as the two big amnesty bills that failed, in 2007 and the Gang of Eight bill in 2014, all were presented as a grand bargain of amnesty for people who were already established, but enforcement measures to supposedly ensure we wouldn’t have to be having another amnesty debate a few years down the road,” Mark Krikorian, director of the pro-restriction Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Free Beacon. “This bill rejects that concept altogether, and is essentially just an amnesty bill with no enforcement.”
The Biden immigration bill would boost visa quotas across all categories, including the diversity visa lottery quota; allow approved family visa beneficiaries to come to the United States and reside temporarily until a green card becomes available, extending residency to nearly 3.5 million people currently in the backlog; and end the three- and 10-year bans on reentering the United States legally if an applicant was previously an illegal alien.
But it would make only token gestures toward stricter border enforcement, such as enhanced drug-screening equipment and pouring $4 billion over four years into Central American countries to target the “root causes” of migration.
Biden has the support of the Big Business lobby. On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement that told Biden he can create more jobs for Americans by pushing through his immigration plans so that corporations can hire “the world’s most talented and industrious people” from other countries — a contradictory proposition.