Friday, July 12, 2024

Biden unveils immigration plan and acknowledges the pain caused by the Obama-era deportations

Joe Biden unveiled a plan Wednesday to reform the U.S. immigration system and reverse President Trump’s policies as Democratic White House hopefuls pressure the president over some of his most criticized tactics.

In introducing the broad proposal, the 2020 presidential candidate’s campaign also acknowledged the backlash he has faced over the deportation practices of the Obama White House when he served as vice president.

His campaign wrote that “Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers.” Biden wants to stop the Trump administration’s separation of migrant children from parents, end extended detention and reverse restrictions on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, according to his campaign.

At the same time, Biden wants to create a pathway to citizenship for about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., expand access to work visas in areas of economic need and boost the annual U.S. refugee admissions cap to 125,000 from the current 18,000, among other provisions in the plan. Biden also aims to invest $4 billion in Central America to stem violence, spur economic development and target corruption in order to slow a wave of migration to the U.S.

Biden, who has consistently led in averages of national Democratic primary polls, has faced heat over the Obama administration’s immigration policies. While he has tied himself closely to his largely popular boss, Biden has endured scrutiny over the Obama administration’s deportation record.

The former vice president was asked again about Obama-era deportations Wednesday during a Las Vegas town hall hosted by UNITE HERE, he was asked what he would do differently. “A lot. Number one, we understand the incredible pain of a family being separated,” Biden answered, without directly highlighting the Obama administration’s practices in the way his campaign did. He added that “the idea that anyone will be deported without actually having committed a felony or serious crime is going to end in my administration.”