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Biden's Immigration Battle

Biden’s Immigration Battle: Opening the Gates to Citizenship

Capital & Main’s new series examines whether the incoming president can tackle the nation’s migrant crisis.




Image by Marco Amador

American immigration policy has come a long way since Emma Lazarus’ ode to the huddled masses was hammered into the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, back when the “melting pot” idea offered a mythic vision for Europe’s oppressed classes. Since then, economic Darwinism, political expediency and ethnic animus have combined to considerably shrink our country’s welcome mat to the foreign born.

Whatever bipartisan interest had existed on Capitol Hill to provide paths to U.S. citizenship — most urgently to nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, the majority Latino — was stopped cold by Donald Trump’s presidency. Executive orders issued from Trump to his immigration and border protection agencies have bared America’s teeth to the world. At home, Trump’s policies have released a toxic miasma of xenophobia and racism, much of it aimed at political refugees.

As a new administration prepares to take control of the White House with a tenuous hold on both houses of Congress, Capital & Main is publishing “Biden’s Immigration Battle.” This series looks at what opportunities may finally emerge to legalize the residency of this country’s long-suffering twilight population. Over the next week, the following articles will examine the challenges Biden faces:

What Immigrant Rights Groups Want From Biden by Gabriel Thompson. Migrant advocates are heartened by Biden’s pledge to reverse many of Trump’s signature actions — but they want the new president to go much further.

Can Trump Administration Officials Be Prosecuted for Immigration Policies? by Larry Buhl. An adviser for Physicians for Human Rights says that immigrant family separation cases meet all four United Nations criteria for torture.

Seeking to End “Juan Crow” Laws in the Next Congress by Frances Madeson. Immigrant rights advocates claim that the abuses of the criminal legal system parallel institutional injustices against migrants.

Immigration Reform and Conservative Wild Cards by Joe Rihn. After Trump, can Americans bridge a chasm of political beliefs to meet halfway on immigration issues?

Will President Biden Keep Candidate Biden’s Reform Promises? by Angelika Albaladejo. With billions of dollars already earmarked for detention and deportation, the new president will face hurdles to making transformative changes.

Trump’s Legacy: What’s Reversible, What’s Not by Jason McGahan. Joe Biden’s biggest challenge lies at the U.S.-Mexico border, where an estimated 67,000 migrants are stranded.

Trump’s Grip on Future GOP Policies by Steve Appleford. Republicans thought the end of Trump’s presidency gave them the freedom to rethink immigration laws. Trump has other ideas.

Copyright 2021 Capital & Main

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