• July 24th, 2024
  • Wednesday, 09:59:56 PM

The Contrasts on Immigration Between Biden and Trump Are Clear

Photo: America’s Voice Maribel Hastings


Maribel Hastings


As the presidential debates begin, it’s worth reviewing some contrasts between President Joe Biden and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, on immigration.
While it is true that some of the measures taken by Biden have upset pro-immigrant groups and progressives, many seem to forget the atrocities committed by the Trump administration, like the separation of children and babies from their parents at the border; others they tried to implement but were stopped in the courts, like the Muslim ban or eliminating DACA; and those they plan to implement if a forgetful nation decides to deliver him the reins to this country for a second time.


Those are contained in the Machiavellian Project 2025, a roadmap for the potential new Trump presidency, whose immigration axis is mass raids and deportations and enormous detention camps.


We have criticized the Democrats when they failed to take advantage of opportunities to advance immigration reform, or when they adopted questionable migration policies. But the ones principally guilty for the lack of said reform are the Republicans who, for decades, have torpedoed it in order to exploit the topic for political ends. It’s their favorite electoral weapon and the 2024 presidential cycle is no exception.


It’s to be expected that Trump would exploit the horrendous murder of a 12 year-old child in Houston, Texas, at the hands of two recently-arrived undocumented people, to paint all immigrants as criminals and attack Biden’s immigration policy — who has not had it easy when it comes to the topic of asylum seekers or newly arrived migrants.


Biden and the Democrats know that immigration reform will not be approved in a majority-Republican House of Representatives, nor in a Democratic Senate where 60 votes are required to advance measures where a single senator can obstruct a bill by filibustering.


The biggest distinction between Biden and Trump is the racist and dehumanizing rhetoric against immigrants, which is the brand of the Republican former president.


Biden has had to make use of administrative measures and executive orders.


When Title 42 ended, Biden created programs to alleviate the pressure at the border. Among those are a program for temporary residence (parole) for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (CHNV). But Texas and another 20 Republican states filed a lawsuit against the program, even though it was inspired by one created for Ukrainians due to the war with Russia. Just another example of how Republicans oppose practical solutions.


The Biden administration also established the Safe Mobility program in some Central and South American countries, so that eligible people could initiate the asylum process without crossing jungles and deserts in order to arrive at the border.


Moreover, the State Department created the Welcome Corps program that allows refugees to be sponsored by U.S. citizens and permanent residents in their resettlement process, as people seeking asylum.


Biden issued an executive order so that certain undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens could legalize their status, a decree that will benefit half a million spouses and 50,000 undocumented children, under the age of 21, of U.S. citizens.


Another order permits DACA beneficiaries and other Dreamers who graduated from U.S. universities, and have an offer of employment, to obtain work visas.


Biden has also designated or extended TPS to around 700,000 nationals of 16 countries, including those in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Those programs include work permits, and those migrants contribute billions of dollars annually to our economy.


Trump, on the other hand, wants to dismantle those programs. And, in addition to the stamp of racism and cruelty toward immigrants, his other calling card is a ridiculous border wall that was never completed.


But the biggest distinction between Biden and Trump is the racist and dehumanizing rhetoric against immigrants, which is the brand of the Republican former president. Trump, and now the Republican Party, have also endorsed and normalized conspiracy theories previously limited to marginal supremacist groups, who now rub elbows with the GOP leadership.


Theories like the “invasion” at the border with Mexico, the “great replacement” of white voters with immigrants and minorities to undermine their political power, or the false idea that immigrants are voting fraudulently in the elections — lies that Trump and the Republicans now employ to declare electoral “fraud” if the election results do not favor them.


We do not know what will happen on November 5. But we do know that there are clear distinctions between both figures on immigration and other vital issues for the country. The question is, what will voters decide?


Maribel Hastings is a Senior Advisor to América’s Voice.