Transformative Immigration Bill Hits Congress And It’s Bad
By Joe Guzzardi
Now that analysts have had enough time to wade through the 353 pages that makes up the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (USCA), the small print comes into focus. The USCA’s broad strokes have been widely publicized: the legislation proposes to grant amnesty to an estimated 14.5 million or more unlawfully present foreign nationals, increase annual legal immigration totals, issue more employment-based visas, and otherwise completely overhaul established immigration law.
Millions of new work permits would be granted. The 353 pages don’t contain a single provision that helps American citizens or recently arrived lawfully present residents who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic to establish themselves. Also harmed and insulted are immigrants who waited years and paid significant fees to come to the U.S. through proper channels. U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative Linda Sanchez, (D-Calif.) introduced the bill, and its cosponsors are long-time immigration expansionists.
From his first day as president, Biden urged Congress to draft and pass USCA. Menendez called the legislation “a moral and economic imperative.” And Sanchez said that the bill “is our moment to finally deliver big, bold, and inclusive immigration reform that our nation and its people deserve.” But the details prove otherwise.
For example, the bill allows every illegal alien that the Trump administration deported to return, and apply for amnesty. Under Biden’s concept, aliens who have gone through either expedited removal or been ordered deported by a Department of Justice immigration judge – a lengthy and thorough process – will be welcomed back to the U.S. and put on a path to citizenship. The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that because of amnesty and other relaxed laws, 52 million more legal and illegal immigrants will eventually join the general population.
Another large chunk of the bill will retrain Customs and Border Protection agents about where and when they can enforce immigration laws. Although USCA doesn’t include the specific language, Capitol Hill insiders have learned that the Biden administration plans to, within 90 days, dismantle Immigration and Customs Enforcement by abolishing deportation officers’ jobs and removing only hardened criminals.
While USCA is winding its way through Congress, some Biden officials have promoted the idea of flying to the U.S., at taxpayer expense, Central American asylum seekers currently detained in Mexico as part of President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program. A United Nation’s official relayed to the Reuters news agency the federal government’s interest in transporting the asylum-seekers by air into the U.S. where they’ll be given a date to appear before an immigration judge. Immediately after the U.N. created a website that allowed asylum seekers to register remotely for processing at the U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds of migrants signed up.
Biden’s radical immigration agenda is best reflected in his administration’s directionto the Department of Homeland Security to stop using the words “alien” and “illegal alien” in public communications or in intra-agency exchanges. The word “alien” is part of U.S. code, and is historically used to define “any person not a citizen ornational of the United States.”
In a memo from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to DHS, however, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Tracy Renaud wrote that the language changes must include using “noncitizen” instead of “alien,” and “undocumented noncitizen” or “undocumented individual” instead of “illegal alien.” Assimilation, most new immigrants’ decades-old goal, has also been deemed offensive, and must be replaced by “integration or civic integration.” The administration’s new rhetoric is, said officials, “more inclusive.”
The proposed immigration overhaul is so extreme that Democrats on the front lines – Texas and other border states – are alarmed about possibly losing control of the House of Representatives in 2022. Calling Biden’s plan a “catastrophe,” and a “recipe for disaster,” U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) cautioned him against “going off the rails,” the course he perceives that Biden is traveling.
Other Texas House members echoed Gonzalez’s fears. Border municipalities are in an uproar too. The mayor of Del Rio, Texas, has asked Biden to stop releasing untested illegal immigrants into his community. Mayor Bruno Lozano said the city doesn’t have the resources to help illegals, and he fears health risks to his citizens.
As currently written, USCA provides lots more immigration and lots less enforcement, and it has little public support. But the legislation could be parceled into smaller, standalone bills or snuck into major must-pass legislation. Either way, the Biden administration could remake 21st century immigration, and in the process permanently destroy millions of working Americans’ livelihoods and their children’s futures.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.