Biden’s Immigration Agenda

Our immigration policy should prioritize the dogged preservation of America’s free-thinking, free-praying, free-speaking, and free-opportunity traditions as the greatest global ideal.

Via American Greatness


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Alasting legacy of President Trump’s immigration policies will be his administration’s willingness to acknowledge and address the broad scope and wide spectrum of how immigration—both legal and illegal—impacts American life.

Our political debates tend to regress into entrenched and cyclical discussions of border security and amnesty for illegal populations, a polarized framing that ignores how significantly our labor policies, law enforcement practices, and even the shape of our congressional representation, are affected by the choices we make concerning immigration.

In a series of 400 executive orders over the course of four years, the Trump Administration sought to cast a wide net over the various facets of American life touched by our migration policy, both at the border and beyond.

From the Border, To the Boardroom, To Congress

At the border, the administration addressed the perverse incentives baked into our outdated asylum laws—an area where every administration has been compelled to act, because Congress will not.

Previous administrations have chosen to continue a practice known as “catch and release.” The policy, which releases asylum-seekers into the interior of the country to await hearings that are usually years away, incentivizes illegal crossings and directly facilitates the horrific exploitation of women and children by drug cartels. Rather than perpetuate it, the Trump Administration ended it.

Under a policy known as “Remain in Mexico,” asylees await processing in Mexican border towns. The policy, along with measures designed to speed up the hearing process as well as asylum cooperation agreements with other South American countries, has dramatically reduced the number of illegal crossings at the border. It is imperfect for a variety of reasons, but with Congress unmoved to actually solve the problem, it is the most effective set of protocols to reduce both crime and crossings at the border, to date.

The Trump Administration also took the step of limiting apportionment—the process for redrawing congressional districts after each U.S. Census—to populations of only American citizens. While a state’s total population will still be used to generate distribution of federal resources, the administration argued that congressional representation should be exclusively accountable to American voters in the same way that jury service, the draft, voting, and financially participating in the election process is exclusive to citizens.

The Biden Administration’s Return to “Normal” That so much of the changes in our immigration system are done by the executive speaks to congressional unwillingness to address complicated and politically perilous issues. But it also throws the country’s policies into regular periods of whiplash: what is done by one president can, and generally is, undone by the next president.

And it appears that Joe Biden intends to undo most of Trump’s actions. Though the media often fail to provide an accurate relative comparison, the Obama-Biden Administration wasn’t too far a departure from the Trump Administration on several key issues. The Obama Administration deported more illegal crossers than Trump, detained minors in the same cage-like structures used by the Trump Administration, and tried to reduce illegal crossings by telling migrants “do not send your children to the borders.”

Biden, however, has signaled a less aggressive tone. He has indicated he would reinstate and bolster the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, seek amnesty for America’s roughly 11 million to 20 million illegal immigrants, stop construction of Trump’s border wall, and end the Remain in Mexico policy—a move one recently retired Border Patrol chief said “will invite chaos.”

Biden’s language around immigration policies is reflective of the polarized trenches in which our national dialogue takes place. It’s moralizing, focused on “human dignity” and “compassion” but ignores the messier consequences of Biden’s immigration policy choices: the uptick in trafficking that will necessarily follow reduced border enforcement, the exploitation of women and children, and easy, repeat return of those who would do Americans harm.

Biden has also said very little about how he will handle the domestic elements of Trump’s immigration agenda, which modified guest worker programs to prioritize American workers over the corporate industry’s preference for cheap foreign labor.

The Meaning of Citizenship

Whether or not one agrees with the actions of the Trump Administration, his four years reflected a willingness to ask critical questions and raise fundamental truths about the interplay between our immigration policies and our self-government.

Immigration policy is generally couched in values-driven language. And, yes, humanity and compassion do play a role. America, for decades, has accepted more refugees than any other country in the world.

Even under President Trump’s lowered refugee caps, the United States remained a top country in the world for refugees in need of resettlement. But our policy choices echo further than the sheen of moral gloss. They redefine what it is to work and live in America as a citizen.

the elites in our ruling class want to cheapen citizenship. What was once cherished as a privilege is now merely a political chit. Illegal immigrants are less likely to be considered future citizens, in the full sense of the American tradition, than to be seen as clients who can be granted voting rights in exchange for political support.

Donald Trump was hardly a philosopher, but he seemed innately to grasp that the process of coming to America—of electing to join the uniquely liberal Western tradition and the respectful but fierce independence of the world’s freest and greatest country—was special and should mean something; That America itself should be a nation that first and foremost acts for its citizens and their shared conception of liberty and justice for all.

The Trump Administration had policy blunders and imperfections, to be sure, but its pursuits were not meaningless, and reflected a willingness to grapple with the fullness of what our immigration policy choices mean for America, and what they more broadly should require of those who seek to become links in the great chain of America’s founding traditions.

Whatever lessons we take away from Trump’s immigration policy legacy, first among them should be that our immigration policy should have as its focus the dogged preservation of America’s free-thinking, free-praying, free-speaking, and free-opportunity traditions as the greatest global ideal. And that the making and keeping of the “privileges and immunities” granted to its citizens is among our worthiest pursuits. Full Article By Rachel Bovard @ American Greatness