Biden presented a 21-point immigration program: what's in it
In January, the administration of US President Joe Biden embarked on extensive government efforts to reform the immigration system, including sending a bill to Congress that creates a new system for responsible border management and protection, a pathway to citizenship, and better immigration management. In a statement for White House website the administration spoke about what plans it has for reforming the immigration system.
“We have successfully treated over 12 people who have been returned to Mexico under the Protocols for the Protection of Immigrants. We have expanded legal protections and opportunities, including the Central American Minors (CAM) program to reunite children with their parents in the United States, ”the statement said. “We have strengthened joint management of migration with regional partners, including through the new Anti-Smuggling and Human Trafficking Task Force, to stem and prevent the smuggling of immigrants and human trafficking. And we continue to curb illegal migration on our southern border. ”
The administration also released a plan outlining the next steps federal agencies will take to continue to deliver on the president's vision for the immigration system.
“We will always be a nation of borders and we will enforce our immigration laws in a fair manner. We will continue to work to strengthen an orderly immigration system, ”the White House website says.
Providing border management
The United States enables large numbers of people to exercise their legal right to apply for asylum, as well as reduce illegal migration and maintain an orderly, safe and well-managed border.
- More efficient use of existing enforcement resources. Since fiscal 2011, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) budget has grown from $ 9,9 billion to $ 15 billion in fiscal 2021. The president has redirected resources from the unnecessary border wall to make robust investments in smarter border security measures, such as border technologies and upgrades to land-based ports of entry, that have proven effective in enhancing security. This investment will multiply the strength of the more than 19 border patrol agents currently helping to secure US borders and more than 500 CBP officers deployed in our land, air and sea ports.
- Improving the accelerated process of taking out arrivals at the border. The administration is working to improve the expedited deportation process at the border in order to fairly and effectively determine which individuals have legal requirements for asylum and other forms of protection. Asylum and other legal immigration routes must remain accessible to those seeking protection. Those who do not seek protection or do not meet the requirements will be immediately deported to their countries of origin.
- Promoting secure border management by providing training and technical assistance, supporting the improvement of border infrastructure and technologies.
- Strengthening anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking operations by working with regional governments to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in the smuggling of immigrants, human trafficking and other crimes. In April 2021, DHS announced Operation Sentinel, a new operation targeting criminal smuggling organizations.
Asylum Application Processing Procedure
The administration is committed to dealing fairly and effectively with asylum applications. Asylum and other legal migration routes must remain accessible to those seeking protection. But those who do not seek protection or do not meet the requirements will be returned to their country of origin.
- Creation of a special list for the examination of applications for asylum. The administration has created a special list for the quick and fair review of protection applications for some recent arrivals.
- Further Improving the Efficiency and Fairness of the U.S. Asylum System by empowering asylum officers to review asylum applications for newcomers to the border and establishing clear and fair eligibility standards that harmonize the US approach with international standards.
- The administration has already begun to reverse the policies and decisions of the Donald Trump administration that unfairly prevent people from seeking asylum. On June 16, the Department of Justice overturned two orders from the former administration that severely restricted shelter protection for victims of domestic violence and banditry.
- Maximum expansion of legal representation programs by working closely with pro bono legal service providers. The presidential budget for fiscal 2022 provides $ 15 million to represent families and vulnerable individuals, and $ 23 million to support legal aid programs.
- Reducing delays in immigration courts through the timely handling of priority cases and the recruitment of more immigration judges. The FY2022 budget provides for the recruitment of an additional 100 immigration judges and provides support for additional court staff to ensure efficient and fair handling of cases. The Department of Justice has also given back the discretionary power to close administrative cases to immigration judges, another step to ensure priority cases are dealt with in a timely manner.
Strengthening cooperation with regional partners
The United States is committed to expanding efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation in Central America and to strengthen regional cooperative immigration management. The United States believes that all people should be able to lead a safe, stable, and dignified life in their countries, while ensuring that asylum and other legal migration routes remain accessible to those in need.
- Provide humanitarian support to meet urgent needs forcing people to flee their homes. US efforts will focus on tackling food insecurity, mitigating the impact of successive droughts and food shortages, helping to protect vulnerable people, and providing materials to support the recovery of homes and schools affected by hurricanes. The United States will also work with the United Nations to mobilize international support for the deteriorating situation in the Northern Triangle. As part of this effort, the United States provided $ 255 million in aid in April to meet urgent humanitarian needs in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
- Expanding access to international protection to ensure the safety of people by establishing and improving national asylum systems, intensifying efforts to resettle refugees and expanding efforts to protect at-risk groups.
- Establishment of Immigration Resource Centers in the countries of the Northern Triangle, with the support of international organizations and in coordination with the governments of Central American countries to provide services for people seeking legal paths for immigration and protection.
- Renewal and expansion of the Central American Juvenile Program (CAM)to provide children with the opportunity to receive protection and to be reunited with their parents in the United States. In March 2021, the United States reopened the CAM program, and in June 2021 expanded it to additional categories of eligible U.S.-based relatives who can petition to protect their children.
- Expanding the processing of refugee claims, including assisting international organizations and local nongovernmental organizations to identify and refer persons in need of urgent protection to the US Refugee Admissions Program and other resettlement countries. The US Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have resumed interviewing people to expand protection for vulnerable citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
- Expanding access to temporary work visas. DHS announced an additional 6000 increase in H-2B visas for non-agricultural temporary workers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in fiscal 2021. The administration is also exploring ways to expand access to H-2A visas for temporary agricultural workers when they are in short supply.
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Investing in Central America to Address the Causes of Immigration
It is impossible to solve the problem of illegal immigration without solving the problems in the countries of origin of the immigrants.
- Addressing economic insecurity and inequality through investment in programs that contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for economic growth; improving workforce development, health care and education; and building resilience to climate change and food insecurity so that people can find economic opportunities at home.
- Fighting corruption and strengthening democratic governance by working with governments, civil society and independent media to improve public services, increase transparency, promote accountability and respect for human rights, punish corrupt actors and ensure the protection of at-risk youth, victims of violence, and other marginalized populations.
- Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights and press freedom by working with governments and civil society to strengthen legal frameworks and institutional capacity building, bringing perpetrators to justice.
- Counteraction and prevention of violence, extortion and other crimes by strengthening law enforcement accountability, focusing on crime prevention and encouraging regional cooperation to address common criminal threats.
- Combating Sexual, Gender and Domestic Violence by working with governments and civil society to prevent and prosecute violence, and support victims.
While President Biden can implement much of this plan, Congress must act as well. Millions of non-citizens call the United States their home. Immigrants are a key part of American communities and make a significant contribution to the economy. Over the past year, millions of immigrants have risked their health to work side by side with other Americans to do the work necessary for the nation to function. They are American in every way, but not on paper.
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