By JOHN KANELIS / email@example.com
President Biden said he is wants to “go big” on an immigration reform proposal for Congress to consider.
I agree with him, but with an important caveat. I want there to be strict border security and enforcement of immigrant-entry rules for those seeking to come to the United States.
The president has unveiled a sweeping reform that enables undocumented residents already living here an eight-year path to seeking citizenship or legal resident status; it seeks to speed up that path for agricultural workers and recipients of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program; and, yes, it seeks technology to help patrol the nation’s borders.
The childhood arrivals idea, aka DACA, became a favorite target of the Trump administration. Donald Trump rescinded President Obama’s executive order granting a form of amnesty from deportation for those who were brought here illegally as children. Joe Biden then rescinded Trump’s order in a kind of take-that approach to peeling back his predecessor’s policies.
I am trying to take a longer view of the approach to immigration reform is taking. For sure I do not want to see a continuation of the heartlessness espoused by many of Donald Trump’s immigration advisers, namely that prince of darkness Stephen Miller who sounded for all the world like someone who wants to shut the door completely to all immigration. As the grandson of immigrants, I take deep personal offense at the approach that the Trump administration took and I welcome the more compassionate approach being expressed by the Biden team.
And no, I do not favor any sort of “open border” notion that has become a sort of whipping boy for those on the right who suggest that anything short of walling off the United States is an endorsement of welcoming everyone … legal and illegal immigrants alike. That is the stuff of demagogues.
I want President Biden to deliver on his 2020 campaign promise to fix the nation’s immigration policies. He has thrown a bold plan out there to ponder. Finding common ground is the basis for sound legislation. The president’s decades of experience as a U.S. senator puts him in position to lead that effort.