Biden insists he will end the ‘exhausting war on immigration’ by giving 11 million migrants a path to citizenship and urges Congress to make border ‘more secure’
- President Joe Biden said it was time to end the ‘exhausting war’ on immigration
- He called on lawmakers to pass his immigration plan that gives a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants
- That plan will be hard to get Republican support for
- So Biden asked Congress to look at compromise that would give citizenship to Dreamers and help farm workers
‘Let’s end our exhausting war over immigration,’ he said during his Joint Address to Congress.
Biden asked lawmakers to pass the comprehensive immigration plan he proposed, which includes an eight-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, eliminates restrictions on family-based immigration, expands worker visas, and includes funding for security updates at the border.
He appealed to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle with his pitch.
‘If you believe we need a secure border – pass it,’ he said, addressing GOP concerns.
‘If you believe in a pathway to citizenship – pass it,’ he said, directed to Democrats.
‘If you actually want to solve the problem – I have sent you a bill, now pass it,’ he said.
President Joe Biden said it was time to end the ‘exhausting war’ on immigration
Biden called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform as the number of migrants crossing the border via the Rio Grande has surged
Republicans have criticized Biden for rolling back Donald Trump’s stricter immigration policies, claiming it has led to a surge of migrants across the border.
But Biden will need their support to pass any immigration proposal given the narrow Democratic majority in the House and the 10 GOP votes he’ll need to advance any legislation in the Senate.
Given the legislative difficulties, Biden pushed for more targeted measures, one that would guarantee a pathway to citizenship for the Dreamers, migrants brought to the US as young children by their parents; allow farmworkers already in the country to earn legal status; and ease restrictions on visas for seasonal agricultural workers.
Those proposals passed the House with bipartisan support.
‘If Congress won’t pass my plan – let’s at least pass what we agree on,’ the president said.
Democrats gave him a standing ovation and there was some applause among Republicans, whom largely remained seated.
Biden also praised Vice President Kamala Harris, who he put in charge of diplomatic efforts on the Southern border.
‘I have absolute confidence she will get the job done,’ he said.
There was applause in the chamber to his praise of his vice president but it’s unclear if that was from just Democrats or if Republicans joined in.
Republicans have criticized Harris for not yet visiting the Southern border.
Harris does plan to visit Central America in June. Additionally, she held a virtual meeting on Monday with the president of Guatemala and meet virtually with community groups from the country on Tuesday.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent registers immigrant families after they crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico
Biden’s immigration push comes amid a surge of migrants at the Southern border.
According to Customs and Border Patrol data, the number of immigrants apprehended along the southern border jumped from 96,974 in February to 168,195 in March.
The last time single-month apprehensions were that high was in March of 2001. Additionally in March, CBP apprehended 18,656 unaccompanied minors at the southern border, a record since at least October 2009 and double February’s numbers.
Republicans see the issue as one they can use to make in roads with voters in the 2022 midterms.
Biden said immigration reform would be one of his top priorities as president but it has fallen by the way side given the COVID pandemic and the focus on rebuilding the American economy.