The Biden administration has compiled a plan to boost legal immigration to the U.S. by lowering wait times, slashing fees, and simplifying paperwork – even as it seeks to discourage a wave of migrants from attempting to cross the southern border illegally.
The 46-page plan, obtained by the New York Times, outlines a series of aspects of immigration officials are seeking to streamline, amid what the administration fears is a long-term labor shortage.
Titled ‘D.H.S. Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System,’ it outlines numerous efforts that would have the result of boosting immigration into the country.
A Biden Administration plan seeks to boost number of legal immigrants through a variety of policy changes. Candidates for U.S. citizenship take their oath from the presiding official, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo, during a naturalization ceremony February 9, 2021 in Manhattan
Among the proposals it outlines are those to bring in more coveted high-tech workers, bring in more American Indians who were born in Canada, and assist farm workers. The administration has already taken steps intended to assist asylum-seekers.
Efforts lower fees that propose a barrier to would-be immigrants, and streamline various regulations in the cumbersome immigration system.
Immigrants Yesica Cioli, 34, and Dayana Cioli Vargas, 35, from Uruguay are sworn in as new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) disease pandemic continues, in Joshua Tree National Park, California, U.S., May 4, 2021
Immigrants Yesica Cioli, 34, and Dayana Cioli Vargas, 35, from Uruguay pose for a photo with their parents Richard and Dorca after being sworn in as new U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) disease continues, in Joshua Tree National Park, California, U.S., May 4, 2021
The Biden administration is pushing the changes as an immigration overhaul is stalled in Congress
Anderson, a six-year-old unaccompanied minor from El Salvador, stands in line with other asylum-seeking children as they identify themselves to a U.S. border patrol agent after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in La Joya, Texas, U.S., May 14, 2021
Asylum-seeking migrants from Central America hold their children while sitting along a dirt road as they await transport by the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in La Joya, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2021
Biden has already outlined an immigration proposal that would provide a pathway to citizenship, but its prospects in a divided Congress are uncertain on an issue that has seen little legislative movement for years.
The report comes as the nation, despite facing persistent unemployment, must also contend with a long-term worker shortage, where a declining percentage of active workers will be contributing to the economy as a record number of Americans retire.
Many of the policies being contemplated would not require congressional action, the administration believes.
Moves to expedite the process include efforts to make greater use of virtual interviews and electronic filing while lowering the threshold for evidence migrants must provide.
The goal is to make the system ‘more effective and less burdensome’ and ‘reducing paperwork and other administrative requirements’ in agencies known for byzantine processes. Those who can demonstrate they are victims of domestic violence could also seek asylum. Native Americans born in Canada would also see expanded opportunities to migrate.
The moves come as Biden continues to face political challenges on the right over the crisis at the southern border, amid a surge of undocumented childhood migrants.
Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who campaigned with Donald Trump in 2016, appeared on former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon’s War Room Pandemic to claim ‘genuinely shocking’ number of criminal gang members are being smuggled into the country.
‘These people are…trekking 60 miles through the desert, dressed in full camouflage, paying up to $8000 each to get in,’ he said. ‘They hide by day, they march by night until they get to main roads and farms. He added: ‘They are picked up by criminal gangs and taken off into the drug gangs that are ruining the lives of millions of Americans.’
He posted video of his own border visit, and urged Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the border.