In his first address before a joint session of Congress, Pres. Biden urged the few Members in attendance to approve his massive immigration reform bill that would grant amnesty to more than 11 million illegal aliens and triple the number of green cards issued over the next decade.
As for the ongoing crisis at the southern border where a record number of unaccompanied alien children have been apprehended crossing the border illegally, Biden took no responsibility and instead blamed the surge on conditions in Central America and Donald Trump.
Immigration has always been essential to America. Let's end our exhausting war with immigration. For more than 30 years, politicians have talked about immigration reform and we have done nothing about it. It's time to fix it. On day one of my presidency, I kept my commitments on a comprehensive immigration bill to the U.S. Congress. If you believe we need to secure the border, pass it, because it has a lot of money for high-tech border security. If you believe in a pathway to citizenship, over 11 million undocumented folks, the vast majority are overstaying visas, pass it.
While Biden claims that his bill includes "a lot of money" for high-tech border security, the truth is, his bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act, doesn't include one dime for immigration enforcement at the border or the interior. It simply authorizes DHS to develop a plan to "manage and secure the southern border" and authorizes Congress to provide "such sums as may be necessary" to implement the plan. Actual funding would have to be approved in a separate piece of legislation.
As for the 15-year high in border apprehensions that occurred last month, Biden took no responsibility and offered no immediate solutions.
We also have to get at the root problem of why people are fleeing, particularly to our southern border from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The violence, the corruption, the gangs, the political instability, hunger, natural disasters. When I was president — when I was vice president, the president asked me — it helped people — it helped keep people in their own countries instead of being forced to leave. The plan was working but the last administration decided it was not worth it. I'm restoring the program, and I asked Vice President Harris to lead us on this. I'm absolutely confident she will get the job done.
In his final plea, Pres. Biden urged Congress, if nothing else, to pass the two bills approved by the House of Representatives last month -- the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
If you don't like my plan, let's at least pass what we all agree on. Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for Dreamers.
People who have only known America as their home. And permanent protection for immigrants who are here on temporary protected status and came from countries beset by man-made and natural disasters. As well as a pathway for citizenship for farmworkers who put food on our table.
Of all the issues that Pres. Biden discussed tonight, immigration was last on the list. For an administration that released an immigration proposal in its first few days in office, it appears that the border crisis, the pandemic, and other domestic issues have leaped ahead of immigration on the priority list. Not to mention, recent polling has shown that the American people have lost their appetite for amnesty or an increase in legal immigration because of the ongoing border surge.
Unfortunately, in just the last two weeks, the administration has increased the number of H-2B, low-skilled visas that will be made available for foreign workers this year and reinstated law enforcement grants to sanctuary jurisdictions. Administration officials will continue to do all they can to achieve Biden's goal of less enforcement and more immigration with or without legislation passed by Congress.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Deputy Director for NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, May 12th 2021 @ 11:05pm EDT