Biden and Congress in Intensive Talks Over Immigration Reforms

Examine proposed immigration changes in Biden's negotiations. Understand the potential impact on border policy, asylum, and removal processes.

Dec 11, 2023 - 10:29
Dec 11, 2023 - 10:29
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Biden and Congress in Intensive Talks Over Immigration Reforms
Biden and Congress in Intensive Talks Over Immigration Reforms

President Joe Biden has taken a more active role in negotiations with the Senate, focusing on crucial changes to the immigration system. The discussions with Republicans are tied to funding for Ukraine amid ongoing global conflicts. As the impasse deepens and funds for Ukraine diminish, the White House is expected to play a more prominent role this week.

Budget Director Shalanda Young emphasized the necessity of reaching a mutually agreeable deal on CBS' "Face the Nation," underlining Biden's readiness to make significant compromises on border issues.

Republicans argue that the surge of migrants across the southern border poses a security threat, straining resources. They stress the need to address domestic border concerns before allocating funds internationally. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, leading the negotiations, sees the situation as spiraling out of control.

While negotiations remain largely private, key issues under discussion include asylum standards, humanitarian parole, and fast-track deportation authority.

Humanitarian Parole: A Closer Look

Humanitarian parole, a tool allowing entry bypassing regular immigration processes, is intended for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Over the years, it has been used by both Democratic and Republican administrations to admit individuals from various regions. Examples include Hungary in the 1950s, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the 1970s, and Iraqi Kurds in the mid-1990s.

Under Biden, humanitarian parole has played a significant role, with the U.S. admitting thousands of Afghans and Ukrainians. The latest figures reveal substantial admissions through this program.

Republicans criticize these programs, viewing them as end-runs around Congress. Texas has filed a lawsuit against the administration.

Potential Changes to Asylum

Asylum, offering protection and a path to U.S. citizenship, requires demonstrating fear of persecution based on specific criteria. Asylum-seekers undergo a credible fear interview and, if deemed eligible, can stay in the U.S. during immigration court proceedings. Critics argue that the current system, while allowing claimants to remain for years, often results in few granted asylees.

Discussions among lawmakers include raising the bar for the initial credible fear interview, potentially leading to increased deportations.

Understanding Expedited Removal

Expedited removal, created in 1996, empowers low-level immigration officers to swiftly deport certain immigrants. Initially sparingly used, it gained attention during Trump's presidency. Advocates argue it eases the burden on backlogged immigration courts, while opponents contend it lacks necessary protections for migrants.

Anticipated Impact of Changes

Debate over proposed changes centers on the efficacy of deterrence. Proponents, like former immigration court judge Andrew Arthur, believe alterations to asylum standards and humanitarian parole restrictions could be a game-changer, potentially reducing the number of arrivals despite increased government costs. Skeptics, including retired judge Paul Schmidt, argue that desperate circumstances will drive migrants to take dangerous routes regardless.

As discussions continue, the fate of these immigration changes remains uncertain, with significant implications for both domestic and international policies.

Must Read: Heightened Walls, Higher Risks: Surge in Border Wall-Related Falls Raises Alarms for Migrants Safety

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