This Week In Immigration – Week of March 29, 2021

This Week In Immigration
  • On Friday, April 2, 2021, Chuck Robbins, the CEO of Cisco, added public support to President Joe Biden’s immigration reform plan by publishing an Op-Ed in USA Today supporting Congress’ recent laws allowing those undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children – regarded as “dreamers,” to obtain a path to legal status and citizenship.  This signaled the public support of the business class in solving the issue of the “dreamers” by publicly acknowledging their plight and pushing the legislature to publish laws allowing them to stay as he maintained that Congress should give them “the legal status and certainty they deserve.”
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also signaled support for the central goal of Democratic immigration reform proposals set to be considered by the Senate later in April.  After a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who, like Manchin, is seen as a relatively conservative in his caucus, Manchin echoed GOP calls for increased border security and called the surge of migrants crossing the border a “crisis.” But Manchin also reiterated his belief that immigration reform “should be a pathway to citizenship” because, while they might have come to the U.S. the “wrong way,” they also “came for the right reason.” Manchin in the past supported a 2013 Immigration Bill which was not passed into law under Republican control, however, it included adding 40,000 border patrol agents which is a key point to getting immigration reform passed with bi-partisan support. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a letter to the Democrats in the Senate stating that immigration reform would be one of several areas of focus when the Senate returns from recess in April.
  • First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Delano California where she raised the issue of the immigration reform bill in the context of vaccinating 400,000 illegal farmworkers “As President, Joe is fighting for those who often go unseen,” first lady Dr. Jill Biden said during her visit to Delano’s Forty Acres site. “He believes that our work must always be guided by justice and humanity.”
  • On Wednesday, March 31, Ocasio-Cortez held her monthly virtual town hall meeting for her constituents in New York’s 14th congressional district defending the Biden administration’s immigration policies: “I don’t want to draw a false equivalence. What is happening here is not the same as what happened during the Trump administration.”  While many of the same facilities are being used by the Biden Administration as were used by Trump, Occasio-Cortez stated “[The Trump administration] took babies out of the arms of their mothers and deported their families and permanently traumatized these children, some of whom, we don’t know will ever be reunified with their families again which is a level of human rights violation that is just simply not the same [as Biden].”
  • The crisis at the border continues with Biden’s relaxed rhetoric on immigration policy which has spurred undocumented migrants to attempt to get their children into the US to benefit from the policies allowing children and “dreamers” to gain permanent status. The Customs and Border Patrol Footage released a video on Wednesday showing two toddlers being dropped over the border wall near El Paso, Texas, the night prior. 
  • Biden’s immigration crisis has resulted in detention facilities, set up under the Trump administration, reaching full capacity.  This includes the Carrizo Springs Child Migration Detention Facility in Texas, and the facilities detaining children, in Carrizo Springs, as well as the crowded tent camps set up by the previous Trump administration which are now full to capacity. Since the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigrant children, which caused massive media coverage, the current number of children presently detained is 25 percent higher, while the conditions remain the same. 
  • The San Diego Convention Center was temporarily refitted to house hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children.  California Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, toured the facility and stated  “This is a much more humane setting for these girls and I think they’ll be much safer and well cared for,” he said. Peters spoke about immigration reform, adding that the US needs to invest more into processing the migrants. He added “We also need to invest in diminishing the reason why the people come. When the situation improved in Mexico economically, people stopped coming from Mexico.” 

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