The first is to (finally) pass an immigration reform bill legalizing the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States and offering them a route to citizenship. “Within a hundred days, I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people,” Mr. Biden said in his last presidential debate with Mr. Trump. In explaining why such reform didn’t happen before, he vaguely but crucially distanced himself from Mr. Obama: “I’ll be president of the United States, not vice president of the United States,” he told the audience.
Mr. Biden’s second promise is specifically for Dreamers. “I will also legalize Dreamers again,” he said during our February interview, “making sure they are not deported. These are already Americans.” Cristóbal Alex, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, explained to me in an email how they’ll do this: “Dreamers will be protected immediately by executive action, and given a pathway to citizenship as part of the immigration reform legislation.”
The third promise is to grant “temporary protected status” to the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans in the United States who have fled the Nicolás Maduro regime, allowing them to live and work here legally. Ms. Harris promised that a future Biden administration would do just that in a recent interview with Univision’s Ilia Calderón, and Mr. Alex has even set a date for it: Mr. Biden “will immediately grant T.P.S. to Venezuelans who are in this country,” he told me. “The president has such authority, and President Biden will use it in January 2021.”
These three promises stand in stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s long record of anti-immigrant policymaking and rhetoric. He made racist remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced his presidential bid in 2015, calling them criminals and “rapists.” His administration has cruelly separated more than 5,500 migrant children from their parents at America’s southern border.
And contrary to longstanding humanitarian practice, the Trump administration has also prohibited Central American refugees from waiting in the United States while their asylum applications are processed, forcing thousands to wait in Mexico instead.
Mr. Trump’s policies have had a profound effect on immigration: From 2016 to 2019, annual net immigration to the United States fell by almost half, to about 600,000 migrants per year.
While President Trump is dead set on building his border wall and barring people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, Mr. Biden is trying to find solutions for America’s undocumented immigrants and the refugees stuck in Mexico. They represent two opposing approaches to immigration.