The incoming Biden administration is planning on introducing an immigration reform bill shortly after taking power that would give green cards to illegals protected by the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policies.
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris talked about the new administration’s plans in a Univision interview with Ilia Calderón. She also said an effort will be made to shorten the wait time to acquire U.S. citizenship. It currently takes up to 13 years to become a naturalized citizen. The Biden plan would shorten that wait time to 8 years.
Since Harris was talking about a “comprehensive” immigration plan, there’s bound to be more.
“It’s a smarter and much more humane way of approaching immigration,” Harris said of their legislative plans.
Harris also said they hoped to add more judges to relieve a backlog on immigration cases — a problem that President Donald Trump frequently used to justify stricter controls at the southern border.
Harris’ comments come just before a group of undocumented activists from across the country plan to join with local faith leaders in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday morning to demand a meeting with Biden. They plan to pressure him “to make good on his campaign promises, and to act immediately when he takes office next week to protect families,” the advocates said.
Univision is reporting that Biden wants to create a “path to citizenship” for most of the 11 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.
That won’t solve what is still a security crisis at the border. Even with the pandemic, there were still more than 450,000 illegal border crossings in 2020. That compares to 978,000 in 2019. With Biden announcing his intent to stop deportations and go back to a “catch and release” policy on illegals, that number is expected to skyrocket in 2021.
One problem that still remains is the backlog of immigration court cases that overworked judges can’t keep up with.
No progress has been made on reducing the immigration court’s backlog since fiscal 2006, when the Bush administration reduced it from 184,211 to 168,827 cases. The court’s backlog was up to 1,281,586 cases as of the end of November 2020.
The immigration court is so far behind that even if it stopped accepting new cases, it would take more than four years to catch up.
Trump tried hiring up to 10,000 new immigration judges but few wanted the job. The administration was forced to hire people with no experience with immigration law.
The solution is obvious: stop accepting applications for asylum until something can be done about the backlog. Obviously, the Biden administration rejects that idea. So the backlog will continue to grow no matter how many judges Biden promises to hire.
There are enough lawmakers in both houses of Congress, in both parties, who would find any kind of comprehensive immigration reform so toxic that it couldn’t pass. But that won’t stop Biden from using his pen and phone to effect radical changes in our immigration system.