Joe Biden, along with Bernie Sanders, unveiled the Democratic Party's "unity plan" this week, aimed at uniting the two major factions in the Party -- the moderates and the progressives.
Biden has been known as a moderate voice in the modern Democratic Party, willing to strike deals by reaching across the aisle. On immigration, his career NumbersUSA immigration-reduction grade of a D, while not good, places him in the middle of all Congressional Democrats since 1990. But compared with current Congressional Democrats, Biden would rank among the best 10%.
Unfortunately, instead of attempting to convince the more progressive wing of the Party that moderation on immigration is a more popular position, the "unity plan" capitulates to the radical wing of the Party that supports policies that would effectively create open borders. The days of Barbara Jordan's Democratic Party that put the interests of American workers ahead of foreign workers and the businesses that profit from cheap labor are long gone.
While Biden refers to the Gang of 8 plan multiple times throughout his immigration platform, he forgets that one of the few bright spots in the Gang of 8 plan was its elimination of the Visa Lottery. Both his official plan and the "unity plan" call for the continuation of the Lottery.
We believe we should ... preserve the critical role of diversity preferences in our immigration system.
Biden also calls for an increase in the number of employment-based green cards, including an exemption from the numerical limits for foreign students who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities with an advanced degree.
He calls for changes to the family chain migration categories, including exempting spouses and children of green card holders from numerical limits without offsets and issuing visas and work permits to any extended family members on the family-preference backlog due to annual caps.
Biden further calls for an increase of the H-1B higher-wage guest worker program and the streamlining of the H-2 guest worker programs.
Lastly, Biden adopts the Libertarian plan that was pushed by Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg to create a new visa program for states and local communities to utilize for "economic development". One key goal of this is to add immigrants into depopulated cities that Americans have been fleeing.
Biden's call for more immigration and guest workers, especially when nearly 50 million Americans have filed for unemployment since February and the nation faces months, if not years, of economic uncertainty, is a slap in the face to American workers of all skills.
During the debates last fall, Biden was one of the few Democratic hopefuls who still believed in the rule of law. While most of the candidates for the Party's nomination sought to abolish ICE and decriminalize illegal border crossings, Biden at least recognized that immigration enforcement is necessary.
He apparently no longer does.
Biden has adopted the Sanders' plan to halt all deportations during the first 100 days of his presidency. In other words, he's offering a 3-month open invitation for anyone in the world to come to the United States, so they can take advantage of the massive amnesty that he also promises.
Supporting an amnesty for nearly every illegal alien in the United States is not a new position for Biden; he called for a mass amnesty during the debates, and in 2013, he supported the Gang of 8's mass amnesty bill. Highlights of his plan include speedier amnesties for "Dreamers" and agricultural workers, while adopting a bipartisan House plan that would force existing illegal Ag workers into indentured servitude before receiving their amnesty.
Where Biden's positions provide the sharpest contrast to Pres. Trump is in Trump's handling of last year's border surge. Biden would not only erase all of Trump's actions to slow the surge, such as the Remain in Mexico policy, safe third country agreements, use of expedited removal, and family detention. He would also greatly expand the definition of asylum to essentially include most of the 33 million people who live in the Central American triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala).
We will reverse Trump Administration policies that prevent victims of gang and domestic violence ... from being eligible to apply for asylum.
By including each of these groups, Biden's policies would encourage future border surges, open the door to massive asylum fraud, and provide a massive flow of cheap, lower-skilled foreign labor that will then compete for jobs against America's most vulnerable workers.
Biden's plan also tosses aside the Refugee Act -- a bill that he helped craft that provides current refugee and asylum policies. Biden calls for a dramatic increase in the permanent resettlement of refugees, most of which come from halfway around the world, from the Refugee Act's standard of 50,000 per year to at least 125,000 per year. Refugee admissions averaged 67,000 per year when Biden served as Vice President under Pres. Obama.
REWARDS AND BENEFITS
Biden was one of the few Democratic hopefuls to not support health care for illegal aliens, but he now supports offering health care to 2-3 million of the young adult illegal aliens:
That's why Democrats will work to expand access to health care for people living and working across the United States by extending Affordable Care Act coverage to Dreamers.
Biden also promises to reverse Pres. Trump's regulation that allowed immigration officers to consider non-cash welfare benefits in making public charge determinations. He also promises to expand sanctuary policies and eliminate the 287(g) program that allows local police to partner with ICE in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. These changes would remove any threat of consequences for those living illegally in the United States.
A FEW BRIGHT SPOTS
In his official immigration plan, Biden does offer some helpful ideas that are not mentioned in his "unity plan" with Sen. Sanders. However, there's no way he can accomplish his expansionist goals of the "unity plan" without disregarding these helpful statements in his official plan:
Employers should be able to supply data showing a lack of labor availability and the harm that would result if temporary workers were unavailable.
An immigration system that crowds out high-skilled workers in favor of only entry level wages and skills threatens American innovation and competitiveness.
Biden would find an ally in NumbersUSA in accomplishing these two goals. But if he's serious, he would face stiff resistance from the business community. Former Pres. Obama was unwilling to stand up to to the business and tech lobby despite making similar statements. If Biden is elected, only time will tell if he can stand up to these powerful forces.
Biden will also work to ensure employers have the right tools to certify their workers' employment status.
Again, another helpful statement from Biden's immigration plan, however he doesn't call for worker verification to be mandatory, nor does he mention E-Verify. Either Biden doesn't know that E-Verify exists, or he doesn't think it works and wants to create a new system. Either way, he doesn't seem to support a national mandate, so it's hard to give him credit for such a weak statement.
The "unity plan" offers no protections for Americans who would be forced to compete with the increased number of foreign workers or who would have their tax dollars used to subsidize the employers by providing benefits for these mostly low-wage workers. Further, many of the plan's components contradict Biden's overall plan.
UPDATING OUR RATINGS GRID
With the release of Biden's full immigration plan, we'll be making some significant updates to our Presidential comparison grid over the next few days.
We'll continue to update the grid as we close in on the November elections and, hopefully, learn more about the candidates' positions. I encourage you to bookmark this page and check it frequently over the next several months.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Deputy Director for NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Jul 24th 2020 @ 2:05pm EDT