Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled his immigration plan that stays in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s agenda. He also acknowledged through his campaign the “pain” caused by deportations carried out when he was vice president.
“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s campaign said.
The Obama administration deported 1.18 million people in his first three years while the number of deportations has been a little under 800,000 so far under the Trump administration, according to the Washington Post. Over eight years at the White House, Obama deported 3 million people.
Biden has been under scrutiny over the Obama administration’s deportation record. Earlier this month, he said he had “nothing” to apologize for in a Noticias Telemundo exclusive interview.
Biden pledged to mostly undo the Trump administration’s immigration agenda such as ending Migrant Protection Protocols known as Remain in Mexico, reinstating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), restarting welfare-dependent legal immigration to the United States, ending the National Emergency Declaration at the southern border.
“Allowing immigration officials to make an individual’s ability to receive a visa or gain permanent residency contingent on their use of government services such as SNAP benefits or Medicaid, their household income, and other discriminatory criteria undermines America’s character as the land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all, not just the wealthy,” read the announcement.
Biden also vowed to roll back President Trump’s travel limits on citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries and provide a citizenship path for about 11 million people in the United States illegally, including immediately shielding from deportation the immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children.
Biden called for increasing the annual cap on refugees to nearly seven times the current limit—from 18,000 to 125,000. And he emphasized a proposal to spend $4 billion in four years aimed at stabilizing Central American governments and economies.
“We should be engaging and offering our help to organize this hemisphere right now,” Biden said. “I’m going to spend, literally, a billion dollars a year to build up those countries so there’s no reason to leave in the beginning.”
Includes reporting from The Associated Press