Biden eyes overhaul of Trump policies in new immigration plan

Biden eyes overhaul of Trump policies in new immigration plan
© Getty Images

Democratic White House hopeful Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic The Intercept's Ryan Grim says Cuomo is winning over critics MORE released a sweeping immigration plan Wednesday that takes aim at a litany of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE’s policies and would implement a bevy of reforms in the current system.

The former vice president's campaign says in the plan that several actions Trump has taken, including constructing a border wall and separating families, are “grounded in fear and racism.”

“Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants,” the campaign added.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Addressing the Trump-created humanitarian crisis at our border, bringing our nation together, reasserting our core values, and reforming our immigration system will require real leadership and real solutions. Biden is prepared on day one to deliver both.”

Among the policies the former vice president would reverse are the now-scrapped “zero tolerance policy,” which produced a spike in family separations at the border, a slew of proposals to limit those who can apply for asylum, a rule that would make immigrants’ ability to obtain a visa contingent on reliance on government services like food stamps, and the travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“The next president will need to take urgent action to end the Trump Administration’s draconian policies, grounded in fear and racism rather than fact, work to heal the wounds inflicted on immigrant communities, and restore America’s moral leadership. As president, Biden will move immediately to ensure that the U.S. meets its responsibilities as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” his campaign says.

Biden also proposes several new reforms for the U.S. immigration system. The former vice president says he would create a path to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.

He’d also expand the number of visas available to high-skilled workers, reform the visa system for workers in industries that rely on seasonal labor, increase visas for survivors of domestic violence and support a program to allow local governments to petition for additional immigrant visas to support their economic growth.

ADVERTISEMENT

Immigration has emerged as one of several chief issues in the 2020 Democratic primary, with several candidates saying Trump’s policies and rhetoric have unfairly demonized immigrants and forced those living in the country without documents to live in fear. 

Biden’s plan also calls for investing resources to establish the Task Force for New Americans to “support community efforts to welcome immigrants” and raise the annual global refugee admissions cap to 125,000, with the potential for it to rise higher. 

The former vice president faces scrutiny from immigration advocacy groups over his role in the Obama administration’s policies that led to more deportations than during the George W. Bush presidency. The Trump administration also has reportedly deported fewer people overall than were deported under Obama, despite a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Biden underscored several Obama-era policies, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protected those brought to the country illegally as minors from deportation, and the prioritization of law enforcement efforts on those who posed risks to the public.

His campaign did reference some of the groups’ complaints, recognizing the “pain” felt by the deportations during Biden's tenure as vice president.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” the campaign said in the plan.