Anti-Immigration Crusaders Face A Biden Policy Shop Of Horrors

The incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden is planning to reverse many of President Trump’s immigration initiatives, and Biden himself promised to prioritize the type of legislation conservatives have frequently described as amnesty.

“Some of it’s going to depend on the kind of cooperation I can or cannot get from the United States Congress,” Biden said in his first post-election television interview. “But I am going to make a commitment in the first 100 days. I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America.”

“Joe Biden said last night he is going to submit an amnesty bill for 15 million immigrants in the first 100 days,” Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has emerged as a top Trump ally on immigration, warned on Fox and Friends on Wednesday. “That is probably going to unleash a surge towards our border of people trying to get in before that bill is introduced.”

Cotton also accused Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s pick to run the Department of Homeland Security, of “selling citizenship to well-connected Chinese nationals on behalf of Democratic Party donors” during his tenure at the department under President Barack Obama, calling it “disqualifying.”

How much influence lawmakers such as Cotton will have next year, in what figures to be a closely divided Senate no matter what happens in Georgia’s two runoff elections, remains to be seen. In the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, Democrats who supported legal status and a pathway to citizenship for most illegal immigrants negotiated immigration legislation with Republicans who favored similar policies. This included the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration deal.

The failure of that legislation to pass, plus the nomination and then election of Trump, was widely seen as a repudiation of the Gang of Eight approach. Trump included restrictionists such as Cotton and Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican currently up for reelection, in immigration negotiations along with the Democrats and South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was one of the Gang of Eight.

With Trump gone from the White House — he has yet to concede the presidential race and is still contesting the results in multiple states — things could revert to their pre-Trump status quo on immigration. “There are more hard-line senators now,” said a GOP staffer. “But there are still a lot of old guard establishment types too.”

Democrats don’t want to go back to the Obama administration’s approach. The previous Democratic president, under whom Biden served as vice president, initially attempted to build credibility for a pathway to citizenship by stepping up enforcement against employers of illegal immigrants. Activists decried Obama as the “deporter in chief,” while immigration hawks maintained he exaggerated his deportation numbers.

Jerry Kammer, the Center for Immigration Studies fellow who chronicled this history in the book, Losing Control: How a Left-Right Coalition Blocked Immigration Reform and Provoked the Backlash That Elected Trump, described it as “a ‘more thoughtful approach’ meets a more powerful backlash.” Obama soon used executive action to shield some younger illegal immigrants from deportation, something he had repeatedly denied having the power to do, through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Trump unsuccessfully attempted to rescind this program completely, which Biden plans to reinstate fully.

Biden’s “unity” platform with Bernie Sanders and his supporters also proposes a 100-day deportation moratorium. This, too, could elicit a backlash among Republicans capable of sustaining immigration hawks through at least the midterm elections. Trump also managed to win the highest share of the Hispanic vote of any GOP presidential nominee since 2004 without adopting Bush’s immigration policy, prompting Obama to complain Latino evangelicals ignored the “racist things” his successor said because they opposed gay marriage and abortion.

“The Biden-Harris administration is determined to implement an ‘America Last’ immigration agenda despite having no mandate to do so,” said Matthew Tragesser, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Recent nominations for secretary of state and head of the Department of Homeland Security reveal where its priorities lie: open borders, mass amnesty, and more legal migration in the middle of an economic downturn and global pandemic.”

This means immigration hawks are going to face new political battles early in Biden’s presidency.

“FAIR will work with Republicans and moderate Democrats in Congress to not only torpedo the amnesty bill promised in the first 100 days but also reject radical nominations and ensure proper oversight of agencies with immigration jurisdiction,” Tragesser said. “Not only will we be fighting for the American people here in Washington. We’ll be giving them a play-by-play of what happens when you put a radical, open borders party into power.”

Author: W. James Antle III

Source: Washington Examiner: Anti-illegal immigrant crusaders face a Biden policy shop of horrors

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