The Biden White House outlined its latest “blueprint” for overhauling the United States’s immigration system in a “fair, orderly, and humane” way.
“The Administration has made considerable progress to build a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to call on Congress to make long overdue reforms to U.S. immigration laws,” a notice announcing the plan reads, while claiming that “the prior Administration’s cruel and reckless immigration policies, which exacerbated long-standing challenges and failed to securely manage our border,” made it impossible to achieve “overnight” success “in building this fair, orderly, and humane immigration system.”
“We will always be a nation of borders, and we will enforce our immigration laws in a way that is fair and just,” the statement continued. “We will continue to work to fortify an orderly immigration system.”
In total, the blueprint outlines five specific areas in which “federal agencies will be taking to continue implementing the President’s transformative vision for a 21st century immigration system,” including:
Ensuring a secure, humane, and well-managed border
Implementing orderly and fair processing of asylum applications
Strengthening collaborative migration management with regional partners
Investing in Central America to address the root causes of migration
Earlier in his term, President Joe Biden froze funds previously appropriated under the Trump administration to build out a completed southern border wall, and the White House’s budget request for fiscal 2022 redirected those funds toward “robust investments in border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border.”
Additional “border security” initiatives include expediting the removal process for non-asylum-seekers or legal migrants apprehended at the border, strengthening “anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking operations.”
The core ways the administration will seek to streamline asylum applications focus on maximizing legal representation for applicants — the fiscal 2022 budget requested more than $38 million in funding for pro bono legal representatives — and naming “an additional 100 immigration judges” and supporting staff to alleviate court backlogs.
The blueprint also focuses two tenets on outreach and collaboration with regional partners in Central and South America, efforts Vice President Kamala Harris has overseen to date.
“The United States believes that all individuals should be able to have a safe, stable and dignified life within their own countries, while ensuring that asylum and other legal migration pathways remain available to those who need them,” the White House wrote. “We cannot solve the challenge at our border without addressing the lack of economic opportunity, weak governance and corruption, and violence and insecurity that compel people to flee their homes in the first place.”
The new White House plan comes just two days after Biden appeared to walk back previous comments he made on the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program participants.
The president, returning to the White House on Sunday following a weekend in Wilmington, Delaware, told reporters that it “remains to be seen” if Senate Democrats will include a pathway to citizenship in the $3.5 trillion proposal.