So this is what a competent, caring government administration looks like! The widely heralded mass chaos after Title 42 was lifted failed to produce the “invasion” of the southern border that right wing politicians hoped for, indeed, did all they could to insure would come to pass. It did not, largely because of the comprehensive steps the Biden Administration took to secure the border, even in face of Republican obstruction. It also provides a sense of what a rational, humane, ongoing immigration policy would look like. But it is important to recognize that not never or ever did President Biden, President Obama, President Clinton or the Democrats advocate for “open borders.” What they have advocated for going back decades, is a rationale, humane policy Here is a memo outlining the steps the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to secure the border, while Congress ties the administration’s hands and Congressional Republicans maneuver to make things that much worse and needlessly painful. I’m betting you haven’t heard a peep about any of it—Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Pentagon is sending up to 1500 troops to support Border Patrol and supporting a massive counter-smuggling operation in the Darien Gap. The Department of Homeland Security is expanding detention capacity, surging resources and technology to support border communities, and deploying hundreds more asylum officers and immigration judges to quickly and humanely process migrants. The State Department is opening Regional Processing Centers across the Western Hemisphere to direct migrants to lawful pathways and reduce unlawful immigration.
This is a plan that draws on measures we know work, but it is also a plan constrained by the fact that, not only has Congress dealt us a bad hand, House Republicans are actively trying to make things worse.
After spending four years helping former President Trump gut our immigration system and the last two years blocking the reforms and funds to fix it, Speaker McCarthy and MAGA Republicans are taking an even more extreme turn to undermine border security. They voted to take 2,000 Border Patrol agents off the federal payroll. They opposed increased funding for border security. And their colleagues in the states are in court trying to block measures that are actually bringing unlawful immigration down.
The impact? A more porous border with less enforcement. President Biden won’t allow it.
1. THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINSITRATION HAS A COMPREHENSIVE, MULTI-AGENCY, MULTI-COUNTRY PLAN TO MANAGE THE BORDER.
The Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense are using the tools available to prepare and take steps to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane manner.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s plan is rooted in enforcement.
When Title 42 lifts, DHS will return to processing migrants using Title 8 expedited removal authorities. Individuals without a legal basis to stay will be promptly removed, barred from re-entry for five years, and face potential criminal prosecution.
Multiple agencies are taking steps to prepare for this transition and enforce long-standing immigration laws, including:
DOD is sending 1,500 troops to the border (bringing the total to 4,000 troops), and DHS is bringing on thousands of contractors and non-uniformed employees to support in administrative tasks to free up the agency’s 24,000 agents and officers to focus on frontline duties.
DHS and DOJ is surging hundreds more asylum officers and immigration judges to the border to expedite processing times from months to days. Credible Fear Interviews will take place early in the process, while in CBP or ICE custody with the ability to access to legal services, enabling DHS to quickly remove those who don’t have a legal basis to remain.
DHS is vastly expanding holding capacity and ICE substantially scaling up the number of weekly removal flights, with the number of flights doubling or tripling for some countries.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s plan is rooted in deterrence.
The transition back to Title 8 processing for all individuals encountered at the border will be effective immediately when the Title 42 order lifts. Individuals who unlawfully cross the U.S. Southwest border will be processed in a matter of days, barred from reentry for at least five years if ordered removed, and would be presumed ineligible for asylum under a proposed regulation, absent an applicable exception
To help individuals avoid these consequences and direct them to the many lawful pathways we have expanded over the past two years, State and DHS are:
Opening Regional Processing Centers in key locations in the Western Hemisphere to reduce irregular migration and rapidly process eligible individuals for lawful pathways to the United States, Canada, Spain, and other countries
Surging the presence of Panamanian, Colombian, and American personnel to the Darien to reclaim authority of this region and root out the criminal smuggling networks
Ramping up efforts to counter lies and disinformation spread by human traffickers through sophisticated, targeted social media advertising campaigns and collaboration with independent influencers throughout the region
Expanding access to the CBPOne App for noncitizens to schedule an appointment to arrive at a port of entry rather than trying to enter between ports
Creating new family reunification parole processes for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia as an additional lawful pathway
Doubling the number of refugees from the Western Hemisphere as an additional lawful pathway
Accepting up to 30,000 individuals per month from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti as part of the expanded parole processes announced earlier this year
Imposing consequences for migrants who fail to use lawful pathways, including a five-year bar on reentry and presumption of ineligibility for asylum under a proposed regulation
The Biden-Harris Administration’s plan is rooted in diplomacy.
One country alone cannot manage this regional challenge. The State Department is bringing multiple countries together to jointly manage this challenge and implement these measures.
Our diplomatic efforts are producing results:
We secured repatriation agreements from countries in the Western Hemisphere, including diplomatic efforts with Mexico to quickly remove individuals who cannot be returned to their countries of origin
Mexico and the United States are stepping up joint enforcement actions to counter-human smugglers and traffickers that are exploiting migrants.
Mexico and the United States will redouble their development efforts that focus on people-to-people support.
2.CONGRESS DEALT US A BAD HAND, AND CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS ARE TRYING TO MAKE IT WORSE.
Multiple federal agencies are working to manage the border using the tools they have. But Congress needs to update our immigration laws, pure and simple. And it’s not like Congress hasn’t had the opportunity:
In 2013, the Senate on a bipartisan basis passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, but House Republicans refused to take up the bill.
In 2018, a bipartisan group of Senators advanced the Uniting and Securing America Act to protect Dreamers and provide pathway to citizenship, but Senate Republicans blocked it.
Again in 2018, the Senate tried to advance the United and Securing America Act “Common Sense” Proposal Amendment, but Senate Republicans blocked it.
Yet again in 2018, the Uniting and Securing America Act made it to the Senate floor, but was blocked.
In 2019, the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act, but Senate Republicans blocked it.
In 2021, the House again passed the American Dream and Promise Act, but Senate Republicans again blocked it.
In 2021 and 2022, the President proposed record funding for more border agents, more asylum officers, more immigration judges, more border technology, and more detention capacity. Republicans in Congress failed to fund these both requests.
Our immigration laws are so bad and outdated that Border Patrol agents can’t even issue electronic notices to migrants and instead have to create a paper file on each and every migrant that crosses our southern border. It’s absurd. Republicans in Congress have failed the American people by repeatedly blocking solutions.
But what’s even more outrageous is that not only has Congress dealt us a bad hand, House Republicans are actively trying to make things worse.
We requested $4.9 billion for border security and management. Congress only gave us half of that.
This was funding to expand detention capacity and beds, provide medical services, and surge personnel.
It was funding to help track migrants as they await their immigration proceedings, ramp up removal flights, and move migrants out of cities facing a significant surge.
We requested more Border Patrol agents. Instead,House Republicans recently passed a bill to fire 2,000 agents and next week are advancing a bill that would force Americans to waste even more money on a wall that migrants are cutting through, climbing over, and digging under – and that Mexico definitely did not pay for.
President Biden requested record border security funding to keep 24,000 Border Patrol agents and officers on payroll – and hire hundreds more.
House Republicans not only vastly increased that funding in the FY22 and FY23 funding packages, but actually passed a bill to cut 2,000 Border Patrol agents at a time when we’re preparing for a surge.
We implemented measures that brought unlawful immigration down significantly. Republican elected officials ran to court to try to block those measures.
Within weeks of us announcing new border enforcement measures, the number of people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela crossing unlawfully declined by 97%.
20 states filed a federal lawsuit to block these measures. If they get their way, there will be a surge of unlawful border crossings like no other.
We’re expediting the immigration process to quickly remove individuals who don’t have a lawful basis to stay. Governor Abbott is instead busing those migrants to cities all across America, making this work harder.
We’re taking thousands of smugglers off the streets and ramping up efforts to counter their misinformation. Republican elected officials are driving additional profits to criminal smugglers by ramping up their false “open borders” rhetoric.
House Republicans are pushing a MAGA agenda of chaos and inaction. They are playing politics when they should be joining the President in pursuing real solutions, – and they should answer for their repeated attempts to open our borders.
Meanwhile, the Administration took a stance to oppose HR2-Secure the Border Act of 2023 (Rep.Diaz-Balart, R-FL, and 15 cosponsors. Here is the statement from the Office of Management & Budget, issued May 8:
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY H.R. 2 – Secure the Border Act of 2023 (Rep. Diaz-Balart, R-FL, and 15 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports productive efforts to reform the Nation’s immigration system but opposes H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which makes elements of our immigration system worse. A successful border management strategy must include robust enforcement at the border of illegal crossings, deterrence to discourage illegal immigration, and legal pathways to ensure that those in need of protection are not turned away to face death or serious harm.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s approach to border management is grounded in this strategy – expanding legal pathways while increasing consequences for illegal pathways, which helps maintain safe, orderly, and humane border processing. However, the Administration is limited in what it can achieve by an outdated statutory framework and inadequate resources, particularly in this time of unprecedented global movement. H.R. 2 does nothing to address the root causes of migration, reduces humanitarian protections, and restricts lawful pathways, which are critical alternatives to unlawful entry.
The bill would cut off nearly all access to humanitarian protections in ways that are inconsistent with our Nation’s values and international obligations. In addition, the bill would make processing less efficient by prohibiting the use of the CBP One mobile application to process noncitizens and restricting DHS’s parole authority, such that successful programs, like “Uniting for Ukraine,” would be prohibited. The bill would also reduce authorized funding for essential programs including the Shelter and Services Program that provides a critical source of funds for state and local governments and reduces pressure at the border.
While we welcome Congress’ engagement on meaningful steps to address immigration and the challenges at the border, this bill would make things worse, not better. Because this bill does very little to actually increase border security while doing a great deal to trample on the Nation’s core values and international obligations, it should be rejected.
If the President were presented with H.R. 2, he would veto it.
This fact sheet on President Biden’s plan to expand health coverage and other support to DACA recipients was provided by the White House:
In 2012, President Obama and then Vice President Biden announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to allow young people to live and work in the only country they know as home. Over the last decade, DACA has brought stability, possibility, and progress to more than 800,000 Dreamers.
President Biden believes that DACA recipients strengthen our economy and enrich our workplaces, our schools and communities, and our country as a whole. That’s why on his first day in office, he called on Congress to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship and he has repeated that call every State of the Union address since. While Congress has failed to act, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken significant measures to protect Dreamers. This includes, issuing regulations by the Department of Homeland Security to “preserve and fortify” DACA and fighting political opponents in court as they attempt to strip them of the only home they have ever known.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to providing Dreamers the opportunities and support they need succeed. President Biden is announcing a plan to expand health coverage for DACA recipients. The Department of Health and Human Services will shortly propose a rule amending the definition of “lawful presence,” for purposes of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage, to include DACA recipients. We recognize that every day counts, and we expect to get this done by the end of the month. If finalized, the rule will make DACA recipients eligible for these programs for the first time. Under the proposed rule, DACA recipients will be able to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they may qualify for financial assistance based on income, and through their state Medicaid agency. Like all other enrollees, eligibility information will be verified electronically when individuals apply for coverage.
President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that health care should be a right, not a privilege. Together, they promised to protect and strengthen the ACA and Medicaid, lowering costs and expanding coverage so that every American has the peace of mind that health insurance brings. The President’s announcement gives DACA recipients that same opportunity, as the Administration continues to urge Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers, providing them the ultimate peace of mind they need and deserve.
While we wait for Congress to act, and although there are some restrictions on the availability of benefits for DACA recipients, DACA recipients should take note of the numerous Federal programs, opportunities, and resources that have been and continue to be available to them:
Experiential Learning, National Service, and Employment Opportunities:
AmeriCorps VISTA Program. DACA recipients are eligible to serve in the AmeriCorps VISTA program, which provides participants with an opportunity to assist local organizations in alleviating poverty. Participants serve in a full-time position for one year and earn related benefits such as a living allowance, professional development and training, and a cash stipend. Find a VISTA service opportunity here.
American Job Centers. DACA recipients with work authorization can access many programs within American Job Centers, which help job seekers obtain employment and training to further their careers. American Job Centers provide counseling, skill and ability assessments, and advice on in-demand jobs and potential training opportunities. Locate an American Job Center here.
Job Corps. DACA recipients with work authorization may qualify for Job Corps, a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, which helps individuals ages 16-24 improve the quality of their lives by empowering them to secure good jobs and become independent. Job Corps students have access to room and board while they learn skills in specific training areas. Learn more about Job Corps here.
YouthBuild. DACA recipients with work authorization may qualify for YouthBuild, a pre-apprenticeship program for certain individuals ages 16-24. At YouthBuild’s 275 locations across the country, participants learn vocational skills in construction and other in-demand industries—including health care, information technology, and hospitality—while also earning their high school or equivalent degree, preparing them for opportunities such as college, Registered Apprenticeships, and employment. Information on YouthBuild is here.
National Farmworker Jobs Program. DACA recipients with work authorization who are engaged in agricultural work may benefit from the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), which offers services for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and certain family members within the network of American Job Centers. Career Services and Training grants can help farmworkers gain skills, advance in agricultural jobs, or find employment in new industries. Housing grants assist farmworkers in finding safe and sanitary permanent or temporary housing. Access NFJP resources here.
ARP Good Jobs Challenge. The Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan: Good Jobs Challenge within the U.S. Department of Commerce is an investment in high-quality, locally led workforce systems to expand career opportunities and good-paying jobs for American workers, including DACA recipients, to achieve economic mobility and security. Awards under the Good Jobs Challenge have been granted to diverse worker-centered training partnerships and systems across the country spanning 31 states and Puerto Rico. The program also focuses on removing systemic barriers to employment through support services such as childcare, transportation, and paid on-the-job training opportunities. Access Good Job Challenge resources here.
Dept. of Education Resources. The Department of Education has a Resource Guide for schools, colleges, and teachers to support the to support the educational and career success of DACA recipients in secondary and postsecondary education, as well as comprehensive educational resources for DACA students available here.
Assistance with Renting or Purchasing a Home:
FHA Financing. DACA recipients are eligible to apply for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured financing for FHA Title II Single Family forward mortgage programs. FHA programs insure private loans made by FHA-approved lenders and FHA-backed loans can help reduce down payments for a home or condominium.
Housing, Rental, and Credit Counseling Services. DACA recipients can receive free or low-cost advice on buying a home, renting, preventing default, avoiding mortgage default and foreclosure, transitioning from homelessness, budgeting or through HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. Locate a HUD-approved housing counseling agency here or by calling 800-569-4287. Services are available in many languages, including Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, and Mandarin Chinese.
Tax Credits, Financial Education and Consumer Protection:
CFPB Resources. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides detailed, targeted consumer tools, financial education resources in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and plain language publications to assist all individuals, including DACA recipients, in making informed financial decisions. CFPB can help answer hundreds of financial questions including questions on loans, credit, bank accounts, debt collection, and more.
Consumer Complaints. Consumers, regardless of immigration status, may submit a complaint through CFPB about financial products and services offered by companies, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, debt collection and settlement, money transfers, virtual currency and more. Most companies respond within 15 days. Complaints can be submitted online or by phone and interpreting services are available by phone in 180 languages.
CFPB Immigrant Initiative. CFPB recently-launched an engagement and policy initiative aimed at using the Bureau’s tools and authorities to support immigrant families in accessing opportunities to build wealth and contribute to their communities. If you or your family have an experience to share about financial barriers faced by immigrants, please share your story.
FTC Consumer Alerts. All individuals can monitor current and past consumer scams through the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Alerts system. Sign up here to receive alerts about the latest scams FTC has identified.
Health and Well-Being:
HRSA Health Centers. DACA recipients can access health care through Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Health Centers, which provide affordable, accessible, quality primary health care to patients regardless of ability to pay, insurance status, or immigration status. HRSA Health Centers are located in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin. Locate a Health Center here.
Public Health Programs. DACA recipients can also access public health programs that provide certain immunizations or treatment of communicable diseases.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Support. MotherToBaby, a program funded by HRSA, provides expert, confidential, and no-cost information about the impact of medications, drugs, or other exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. DACA recipients and their families can access these services, which are provided in English and Spanish, through the organization’s website, by calling 866-626-6847, or texting 855-999-3525.
Maternal Mental Health Support. The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline (1-833-943-5746) provides free, confidential, 24/7 emotional support, resources, and counseling referrals to pregnant and postpartum individuals facing mental health challenges, and their loved ones. Support is available over the phone and text in English and Spanish. Interpreter services are available in 60 additional languages and a relay service is available for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Special Health Needs. Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs) are located in all 50 States and U.S. territories and provide support, information, resources, and training for families of children and youth with special health care needs, including on specific health issues, family-centered care, and shared decision making (SDM). Find an F2F center in your area here.
Nutrition Assistance. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding individuals, as well as infants and children under 5, with food, nutrition and breastfeeding education, and referrals to health and social services. Eligibility is determined by categorical, residential, income, and nutrition risk requirements. Learn how to apply for WIC here or by calling a state, toll-free number found here.
Military Veterans and Active-Duty Servicemember Resources:
Veterans Benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits and other assistance to all eligible Veterans regardless of their immigration status. More information for Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors is available here or can be accessed by calling 1-800-MyVA411 (1800-698-2411) which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Free Legal Assistance. All active-duty military personnel and their dependents, as well as certain Reserve and National Guard Soldiers and retirees, are eligible for free legal assistance, including immigration and naturalization legal services. More information on Air Force Legal Assistance is available here, Army Legal Assistance here, Navy and Marine Legal Services here, and Coast Guard Legal Services here.
New Measures Leverage Success of Venezuela Enforcement Initiative to Limit Disorderly and Unsafe Migration
Republicans love to rail against the Biden Administration – even threatening impeachment – and Democrats over the “border crisis,” but the fact is that President Joe Biden, like President Barack Obama before him, have tried over and over to enact policies and procedures to address the influx of people LAWFULLY making a claim of asylum. Republicans are making hay – even as they are incapable of electing a Speaker of the House – over “open border” but it is the Democrats who have proposed rational, humane processes that have, in fact, accounted for 2.7 million taken into custody in 2022 – the vast majority fleeing climate disasters, gang violence – immediately repatriating 45 percent.
The people who were essentially human trafficked by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in Washington DC, and to New York City and other “blue” state sanctuary cities were not “illegal aliens” but people who were processed for a hearing, as international and federal law requires. Meanwhile, Republicans have not come up with any plan to address the flood of desperate people who are legally entitled to seek refuge, but instead, have obstructed any comprehensive reform effort, refused to adopt the DREAM Act, even going to court to overturn the Obama-era DACA program that gives people who were brought to the US as children and spent their entire lives in the US legal status to go to school, college and work.
Obama was forced to issue his DACA policy since the Republicans in Congress refused to consider the bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, which did exactly what was asked: spent a ton of money on border enforcement. But Republicans refused to provide any path to legal status for the 11 million undocumented people living for years in the US until the border was sealed shut. An impossibility of which they were well aware.
Republicans are not satisfied with any immigration “reform” that does not include taking toddlers and infants from the arms of their mothers, and turning them into orphans, putting children in cages, allows migrant women to be sterilized against their will.
President Biden has issued his latest plan for border enforcement, that includes sending more immigration judges and social services to these border entry sites. Here is a White House Fact Sheet–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.
While the courts have prevented the Title 42 public health order from lifting for now, the Biden-Harris Administration today is announcing new enforcement measures to increase security at the border and reduce the number of individuals crossing unlawfully between ports of entry. These measures will expand and expedite legal pathways for orderly migration and result in new consequences for those who fail to use those legal pathways. They also draw on the success of the Venezuela initiative, which launched in October 2022 and has resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of Venezuelan nationals attempting to enter the United States unlawfully.
The Administration is also announcing that it is surging additional resources to the border and the region, scaling up its anti-smuggling operations, and expanding coordination and support for border cities and non-governmental organizations. Importantly, the actions announced today are being implemented in close partnership with Mexico and governments across the Western Hemisphere.
While these steps will help address some of the most acute challenges at the Southwest border, they will not solve all of the problems in an immigration system that has been broken for far too long. That can only happen if Republicans in Congress who have spent the past two years talking about border security quit blocking the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures President Biden proposed on his first day in office, and opposing the billions of dollars in additional funds the President has requested for border security and management.
Unlike some Republican officials playing political games and obstructing real solutions to fix our broken immigration system, President Biden has a plan and is taking action. Under the new enforcement measures announced today, the Biden-Harris Administration will:
Impose New Consequences for Individuals who Attempt to Enter Unlawfully
Increasing the Use of Expedited Removal. Effective immediately, individuals who attempt to enter the United States without permission, do not have a legal basis to remain, and cannot be expelled pursuant to Title 42 will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry.
Announcing New Measures to Encourage Individuals to Seek Orderly and Lawful Pathways to Migration. DHS and the Department of Justice today are announcing their intent to propose a new regulation that would encourage individuals to seek orderly and lawful pathways to migration and reduce overcrowding along the southwest border and the strain on the immigration system.
Expand Legal Pathways for Safe, Orderly, and Humane Migration
The Biden-Harris Administration and its international partners in the region are also announcing new and expanded legal pathways to the United States and other countries that individuals can and should use to avoid consequences for crossing the border unlawfully. These include:
Expanding the Parole Process for Venezuelans to Nicaraguans, Haitians, and Cubans. Today, the Biden Administration is announcing it will extend the successful Venezuela parole process and expand it to nationals of Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba. Up to 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries, who have an eligible sponsor and pass vetting and background checks, can come to the United States for a period of two years and receive work authorization. Individuals who irregularly cross the Panama, Mexico, or U.S. border after the date of this announcement will be ineligible for the parole process and will be subject to expulsion to Mexico, which will accept returns of 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries who fail to use these new pathways.
Tripling Refugee Resettlement from the Western Hemisphere. The Biden-Harris Administration intends to welcome up to 20,000 refugees from Latin American and Caribbean countries during Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024, putting the United States on pace to more than triple refugee admissions from the Western Hemisphere this Fiscal Year alone. This delivers on the President’s commitment under the Los Angeles Declaration for Migration and Protection to scale up refugee admissions from the Western Hemisphere.
Launching Online Appointment Portal to Reduce Overcrowding and Wait Times at U.S. Ports of Entry. When Title 42 eventually lifts, noncitizens located in Central and Northern Mexico seeking to enter the United States lawfully through a U.S. port of entry have access to the CBP One mobile application for scheduling an appointment to present themselves for inspection and to initiate a protection claim instead of coming directly to a port of entry to wait. This new feature will significantly reduce wait times and crowds at U.S. ports of entry and allow for safe, orderly, and humane processing.
New Legal Pathways to Other Countries Across the Region. Countries across the Western Hemisphere are delivering on their commitments under the Los Angeles Declaration to expand legal immigration pathways. Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Belize are each implementing new regularization or temporary protection policies to provide legal status to hundreds of thousands of migrants. Canada, Mexico, and Spain have expanded refugee resettlement and temporary work opportunities. Mexico and Guatemala have also significantly grown their asylum system. Individuals are encouraged to avail themselves of this wide range of legal pathways in the region and avoid the dangerous consequences of irregular migration.
Increasing Humanitarian Assistance in Mexico and Central America. The United States is announcing today nearly $23 million in additional humanitarian assistance in Mexico and Central America. This new assistance will help governments in the region respond to the increased humanitarian and protection needs of migrants, refugees and other vulnerable populations in their care. Recognizing that no one country can respond to these needs alone, this assistance will help support shelter, health, legal assistance, mental health and psychosocial support, water, sanitation, hygiene products, gender-based violence response, livelihoods, other protection related activities, and capacity building for partners.
Surge Resources to Secure the Border, Disrupt Criminal Smuggling Networks, and Support Border Communities
The Biden-Harris Administration is surging resources and expanding efforts to securely manage the border, disrupt the criminal smuggling networks preying on vulnerable migrants, and support communities receiving migrants as they await their immigration enforcement proceedings. New and expanded efforts include:
Mobilizing Record Resources for Safe, Orderly, and Humane Processing of Migrants. The Biden Administration is marshalling available authorities and resources from across the Federal Government to help ensure the border is secure and well-managed when the Title 42 public health order eventually lifts. DHS and DOJ are surging asylum officers and immigration judges to review asylum cases at the border more quickly – with the aim of reducing initial processing times from months to days. The two agencies are also expanding capabilities and technologies to support faster processing, including by installing hundreds of phone lines and privacy booths to conduct these interviews and proceedings. DHS is also hiring and deploying additional agents and officers to join the over 23,000 already working to secure the border. In addition, DHS is significantly scaling up its air and ground transportation capabilities to quickly remove migrants when warranted or transport migrants to less-congested border sectors for further immigration enforcement proceedings.
Taking Thousands of Smugglers off the Streets and Countering Smuggler Misinformation. In Los Angeles earlier this year, President Biden announced a first-of-its kind operation against the multi-billion-dollar human smuggling industry. Since April, this operation has led to over 7,300 arrests, forcing many criminal smuggling organizations out of business. The Administration is also taking on the smuggler misinformation. The Department of State is expanding its paid and earned media outreach to ensure timely and accurate information is reaching migrants. Messaging and outreach will target high out-migration communities and migrant routes through relevant communications channels (e.g., radio, digital, trusted partners, and more.) with an estimated reach of over 85 million potential migrants
Expanding Coordination with and Support for Border Cities, Receiving Communities, and Non-Governmental Organizations. The Biden-Harris Administration is increasing funding available to border cities and those cities receiving an influx of migrants, in addition to strengthening ongoing coordination and collaboration across all levels of government. DHS is also expanding outreach efforts with local jurisdictions to provide coordination of resources and technical assistance support and the Administration has been facilitating coordination between state and local officials and other federal agencies. Additionally, the Administration will continue to mobilize faith-based and non-profit organizations supporting migrants, including those providing temporary shelter, food, and humanitarian assistance before often reuniting with family as they await the outcome of their immigration proceedings.
The Biden-Harris Administration will do everything within its authority and available resources to manage this challenge, but until and unless Congress delivers the funding as well as comprehensive immigration reform measures President Biden requested, the United States’ broken immigration system will indeed remain broken.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new website containing resources offered by New York State and its partners to help Ukrainian people and their friends and allies here in New York. This follows the Governor’s announcement warning consumers about scams and cybersecurity threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an additional show of support, the Governor also announced the Ukrainian flag will be flown on the Capitol building, the Executive Mansion, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services headquarters.
“Ukraine’s resilience against Vladimir Putin’s tyranny is an inspiration to the rest of the world, and many New Yorkers are already doing their part to support humanitarian efforts,” Governor Hochul said. “In moments like these, New Yorkers always stand together to support those in need. We are proud to provide trusted resources for those who want to lend a helping hand for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters here in New York.”
This directive comes amid Governor Hochul’s ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to prohibit state agencies and authorities from contracting with entities that continue to do business in Russia. In early March, Governor Hochul announced actions to strengthen the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) enforcement of sanctions against Russia, including the expedited procurement of additional blockchain analytics technology. In February, Governor Hochul ordered all state agencies and authorities to divest public funds from Russia and stop doing business with Russian companies.
Resources available on the website include:
The Office for New Americans (ONA) provides a variety of free support services to all immigrants and refugees in New York State, regardless of status, such as:
Access to free legal support including asylum applications and deportation defense through its network of legal service providers
English language courses through its network of Opportunity Centers
Access to mental health support groups through its Golden Door Program
Workforce readiness tools including resume writing, digital literacy skills, and credentialing evaluation
Support to access developmental disability services through the ONA Ramirez June Initiative
Visit the Office of New Americans website here or contact their hotline at 1-800-566-7636. The NYS New Americans Hotline connects immigrants and refugees to free services across the state. The Hotline operates from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. All calls are confidential. Assistance is available in over 200 languages, including Ukrainian and Russian.
If you are a U.S. citizen in Ukraine, the U.S. State Department has resources for those wishing to depart. They also offer travel conditions and land border guidance for surrounding countries including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova.
U.S. citizens in Ukraine should complete this online form so that the State Department can communicate with you. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Ukraine can also call 1-833-741-2777 (in the United States) or 1-606-260-4379 (from overseas) for immediate assistance. You can also visit the Ukraine Crisis page on the State Department’s website here.
The Consulate General of Ukraine in New York is currently providing consular services. However, all consular services which require receiving documents from Ukraine, including issuance of new passports and visa services, have been suspended until further notice.
If you have visa or passport questions, you can contact the Consulate General by emailing [email protected] or calling either 212-371-6965 or 212-371-5690.
Ukrainians in New York and who are experiencing an emergency situation (e.g. detention), can call the Consulate’s hotline number at 917-325-1444 for assistance.
Protections may be available for eligible Ukrainians already present in the U.S. As a result of the Russian military invasion, the Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine for 18 months. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. Ukrainians eligible for TPS can contact the NYS New Americans Hotline for free legal assistance at 1-800-566-7636.
If you have recently been granted asylum, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, through contracted providers, offers free services to asylees across New York State.
Visit a provider in your area that can assist you with:
Free health screening and immunizations
Accessing other support services
Find a provider in your area here and learn more about refugee services and assistance for immigrants here.
If you need 24-Hour Phone Support: You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990. Callers can connect with counselors for support in 100+ languages via 3rd party interpretation, including in Ukrainian and Russian.
If you need a 24-hour Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.
For 24-Hour Support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users: The national Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is now offering direct crisis counseling and support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users via a dedicated videophone option. Disaster survivors and responders can connect with trained DDH crisis workers fluent in ASL by dialing 1-800-985-5990 from a videophone-enabled device or via an “ASL Now” link which can be accessed at DisasterDistress.samhsa.gov.
Avoid donation scams. Anytime disasters occur, scam artists prey on the heartstrings of individuals looking to help. The invasion of Ukraine provides an opportunity for fraudsters to set up fake charities or pose as compelling war victims. Others design websites to mimic a legitimate charity’s official site to steal unsuspecting donors’ money and/or personal information.
To prevent donation money from falling into the wrong hands, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends taking the following precautions:
Verify the request. Scammers are more frequently posing as friends, family or romantic interests on social media and requesting donations. If you receive an unsolicited request for donation relief online, even if it appears to be someone you know, connect with the person directly through a different communication link to verify the request. Do not click on any links or complete forms before verifying the source. If the request is coming from someone you only recently met online, it is most likely a scam and you should be especially wary.
Research the charity. Don’t rely on a charity website alone. Search online before donating to any charity using the name of the group plus search terms like “review” and “scam”. The Federal Trade Commission recommends checking with give.org, charitynavigator.org, charitywatch.org, or candid.org to see reports and ratings for charities. You can also check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for verification that a charity is registered. The Office of the Attorney General also recommends reviewing the Charities Registry for financial reports prior to donating to ensure the charity is fiscally sound.
Resist high-pressure tactics. While the situation is urgent, consumers should resist being pressured to donate immediately. Scammers often pressure you to donate immediately, causing you to overlook red flags in their story. Beware of direct e-mails from “victims” and solicitors who employ heart-wrenching stories, insisting that you donate immediately. Do not to give money over the phone to unsolicited telemarketers; instead, ask the caller to send written materials about the charity and where to donate, if you choose.
Keep personal information private. Never give your Social Security number, credit card or debit card number, or other personal identifying information in response to an unsolicited charitable request. If donating online, ensure that your internet connection is secure before following through on donation requests.
Ask how your money will be spent. Consumers want to know that their money is going directly to the victims. A genuine charity should be able to let you know how much of your donation will go directly to the program as opposed to administrative fees.
Donate by check or credit card. Never give money using cash, gift cards, crypto currency, or any tender that would be difficult to trace. Give your contribution by check or credit card to ensure that you have a record of the donation. Make checks out to the charity, not to an individual. If you choose to donate via a charity’s website, check that the website is secure and that your computer is equipped with the latest anti-virus protection.
If you suspect that you have encountered a fraudulent attempt to receive donations, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection here.
The Division’s Consumer Assistance Hotline is open Monday to Friday, excluding State holidays, 8:30am to 4:30pm at 1-800-697-1220. You can find more information and tips by following the Division of Consumer Protection on social media on Twitter (@NYSConsumer) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nysconsumer).
Show Your Support
Show your support through the use of New York-branded social media graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Instagram Story. You can also spread the word about how to show support to the humanitarian response through the social media toolkit here.
The annual Flushing Lunar New Year parade, celebrating the Year of the Tiger, returned to the city’s largest Chinatown on February 5, 2021, after a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, joined by elected officials including Attorney General Tish James, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Senator Chuck Schumer, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, were on hand to kick off the Flushing, Queens Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, and show support for the Asian community.
One of the oldest communities in America – settled by the Dutch in 1645 – Flushing, Queens, has become a melting pot of immigrants – predominantly from Asia but with representation from around the world. Flushing’s Chinatown, is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing Chinatowns; it is second in size to Brooklyn’s, and is larger than Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing has become a center of Chinese culture.
On the occasion of President Joe Biden’s address to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, January 21, the White House issued a fact sheet detailing some of the ways the Biden-Harris Administration is working with Mayors to deliver for communities across the country, and what passing the Build Back Better agenda could mean:
Getting Shots in Arms and Saving Lives Since the start of his Administration, President Biden has prioritized local partnerships and has worked closely with mayors across the country who have been instrumental as trusted sources of information about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.
Working with local governments, the Administration has shipped over 160 million pieces of personal protective equipment – gloves, gowns, masks – to protect frontline health care workers in cities across the United States. Since first launching surge response teams on July 1st, the Administration has deployed over 3,000 personnel to 39 states and 4 U.S. territories. The Administration also recently worked with several mayors and local jurisdictions to surge federal testing support and federal test sites to several cities.
Over 115 mayors across the country joined the White House, HHS, and We Can Do This campaign to launch a Mayors Challenge to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations. This campaign was instrumental in increasing the adult vaccination rate through mayors sharing best practices and launching innovative efforts to boost vaccinations, including grassroots outreach, mobile and neighborhood vaccine clinics, incentives, prizes, and other efforts.
Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney as co-lead of the Mayors Challenge, launched the #HotVaccinatedSummer campaign with the Richmond Health Department focused on taking the vaccine to residents through mobile vaccination units, pop-up vaccine sites at grocery stores, food pantries, apartment complexes, and churches, and neighborhood block parties.
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, mayors of Louisiana’s two largest cities, launched a month-long, inter-city “New Orleans vs Baton Rouge COVID challenge” to motivate citizens to get vaccinated.
Detroit, MI Mayor Mike Duggan launched an innovative “Good Neighbor Program” where residents received gift cards for driving their neighbors to get vaccinated, as well as a door-to-door vaccination education canvassing effort.
San Antonio, TX Mayor Ron Nirenberg along with making pop-up vaccine clinics accessible, collaborated with local artists to create murals reminding residents of the importance of getting vaccinated.
Getting People Back to Work President Biden has grown the economy faster than any first-year administration ever with 6.4 million jobs added, the most in one year on record. The unemployment rate is 3.9% – four years faster than projected because of the American Rescue Plan. The Biden-Harris agenda has provided substantial resources to state and local governments to expand and improve America’s workforce development system so that workers of all kinds from diverse communities will be prepared and successful in good-paying union jobs.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included $350 billion in state and local fiscal recovery funds that governments can use to assist workers who want and are available to work – including job training, public jobs programs, job fairs, childcare, transportation, hiring bonuses, and subsidized employment efforts). The ARP also invested $3 billion in the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to assist communities in their efforts to build back better from the pandemic, including $1 billion for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and $500 million for a Good Jobs Challenge that will support sector partnerships that bring employers, unions, non-profits, community colleges, training providers, and local governments together to enhance local training and hiring efforts.
Building Bridges to Infrastructure Jobs:
Washington, DC is using ARP resources to expand the city’s Infrastructure Academy to ensure a diverse workforce is ready to fill the infrastructure jobs that will be created by the historic bipartisan infrastructure law.
Milwaukee, WI has dedicated ARP funds to launch a lead abatement workforce development program and an Earn and Learn program which assists young people entering manufacturing and other high-skill jobs.
Phoenix, AZ is using Rescue Plan funds to partner with local community colleges and the private sector on job training programs that not only will re-skill and re-employ individuals for new careers in high demand workforce areas, such as manufacturing, construction, and the region’s emerging semiconductor industry.
Supporting our Essential Education Workers:
Seattle, WA used ARP fiscal recovery funds to provide premium pay for local child care workers, up to $835 per worker who have been there for at least 6 months.
Bolstering our Health Care Workforce:
Chicago, IL is leveraging ARP funds to build a 2,200 public health workforce working as vaccine ambassadors and addressing vaccine resistance.
New York City is dedicating ARP funds to bolster their public health workforce through the New York City Public Health Corps program, which will focus on a range of public health needs – from vaccine access, to primary care, to mental health counseling.
Building a Better America Since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration has hit the ground running with a focus on fostering strong partnerships and working with mayors to implement the largest long-term investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild crumbling road and bridges, replace lead pipes, help provide high-speed internet to every family in America, and produce concrete results that change people’s lives for the better. These results will create good-paying, union jobs, support domestic manufacturing and supply chains, and position the United States to win the 21st century. As the Administration implements the law, it is following through on President Biden’s commitment to ensure investments advance equity and racial justice, reach communities all across the country – including rural communities, communities of color, and disability communities – and strengthen the nation’s resilience to climate change. Since the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden Administration has it the ground running. Some of the key actions since the law’s passage include:
Understanding the importance of strong partnership with local governments to deliver results on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the White House appointed Mitch Landrieu, former Mayor of New Orleans and former President of the US Conference of Mayors, as Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced $27 billion in funding to replace, repair, and rehabilitate bridges across the country over the next five years, including many locally-owned “off system” bridges.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will invest more than $14 billion of funding for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories. These key projects will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change.
USDOT awarded $1 billion in Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants to invest in 90 major projects across 47 states funding that will be boosted by an additional $7.5 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at USDOT announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country that can use investments to upgrade critical infrastructure.
The Vice President announced the Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, which includes action items focused on collaboration with local partners to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes over the next decade. As part of this plan, EPA announced $7.4 billion in funding allocations for states to upgrade America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, pipes and service lines, and more.
The Federal Communications Commission launched the Affordable Connectivity Program providing broadband subsidies of up to $30/month for low-income households (up to $75/month for households on Tribal Lands) and up to $100 towards the purchase of a desktop, laptop or tablet computer.
EPA announced $1 billion in funding to clean up 49 Superfund sites across 24 states to accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country, stop toxic waste from harming communities, and create good-paying jobs.
The Department of the Interior released initial guidance for the states interested in applying for funding to cap and plug orphaned oil and gas wells that reduce methane emissions and create jobs, with 26 states expressing interest in a portion of the $4.7 billion in funding for well plugging, remediation and restoration available in infrastructure programs.
The Department of Energy launched a new Building a Better Grid initiative to accelerate the deployment of new transition lines, and it released a notice of intent to inform the design and implementation of this historic investment.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes billions of dollars in competitive funding available to cities, towns, and municipalities across dozens of new and existing programs. As local governments begin to rebuild and reinvest in their communities, the Biden-Harris Administration stands ready to support local leaders as they combine funding streams, organize around their priorities, and build local support for long overdue infrastructure projects. The White House released a fact sheet highlights 25 already available or soon-to-be-available sources of funding that local governments – particularly cities – can compete or apply for directly. The White House will also be releasing a comprehensive guidebook of all available funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the coming weeks.
Addressing Supply Chain Blockages As our economy has turned back on from the unprecedented shutdown resulting from the pandemic, our supply chains have been strained. The Administration is working closely with mayors and local governments across the country to mitigate supply chain blockages and ensure shelves are stocked.
The Administration’s port envoy has held weekly meetings with city-owned ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, to identify ways to reduce congestion and move toward 24/7 operations, which reduces the emissions and traffic in communities.
The Department of Transportation awarded more than $241 million in discretionary grants to improve ports facilities and address supply chain disruptions in 19 cities, including Houston, TX; Brunswick, GA; Bay St Louis, MS; Tell City, IN; Alpena, MI; Delcambre, LA; Oakland, CA; Portsmouth, VA; Tacoma, WA; and Long Beach, CA.
The Administration is working to help schools experiencing challenges purchasing and reliably obtaining food for their meal plans. USDA has committed $1.5 billion for schools and states to purchase foods including funding to purchase local foods from historically underserved producers and announced an adjustment in school meal reimbursements that put an estimated $750 million more into school meal programs across the nation this year.
Advancing Local Climate Action On Day One, President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, reestablished U.S. leadership, and renewed the federal government’s partnership with the states, cities, Tribes, and localities that carried forward America’s progress on climate. Since then, President Biden has deployed clean wind and solar energy across the country, jumpstarted an electric vehicle future that will be built in America, advanced environmental justice in underserved communities, and taken aggressive action to make our country more resilient to climate change and extreme weather.
Today, President Biden will announce how the Biden-Harris Administration is teaming up with states, cities, labor, and industry to launch the Building Performance Standards Coalition, a first-of-its-kind partnership between 33 state and local governments dedicated to delivering cleaner, healthier, and more affordable buildings. States and cities part of the coalition will design and implement building performance standards that create good paying union jobs, lower the cost of energy bills for consumers, keep residents and workers safe from harmful pollution, and cut emissions from the building sector.
The Administration is also empowering local leaders to advance climate solutions across other sectors—for example:
The Department of Energy set a new National Community Solar Partnership target of powering 5 million homes by 2025, with on-demand technical assistance available to local governments, and launched the SolarAPP+ tool to help them speed up permitting of rooftop solar installations.
The Department of Transportation announced $182 million in grants for transit agencies to deploy zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including awards to the Chicago Transit Authority; Anaheim, CA; Fort Collins, CO; Lawrence, KS; Jackson, MS; Fayetteville, NC; Lincoln, NE; Norman, OK; and more.
The EPA announced $50 million for environmental justice initiatives using ARP funds, including water infrastructure job training in Baltimore, MD; indoor air quality improvements in Fort Collins, CO; and outreach on asthma and environmental hazards in Hartford, CT.
FEMA announced $1 billion for the FY2021 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, available for cities and other levels of government to proactively invest in community resilience to hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters.
In November 2021, President Biden and 15 bipartisan mayors representing communities across the country participated in COP26, where the President announced bold plans to reduce methane emissions, create clean energy jobs, and build back better with infrastructure initiatives that advance prosperity and combat the climate crisis.
Addressing Gun Violence and Crime During the President’s first year in office, the Biden-Harris Administration has partnered with mayors across the country on actions to reduce gun violence and has provided historic levels of funding for community-oriented policing and expanding community violence interventions (CVI) – neighborhood-based programs proven to combat gun violence. The Administration has made historic levels of funding from the American Rescue Plan – including $350 billion in state and local funding – available to state and local governments for law enforcement purposes to advance community policing strategies and community violence interventions.
Working with 16-jurisdictions, the White House launched the Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, a cohort of mayors, law enforcement, CVI experts and philanthropic organizations committed to using ARP funding to increase investment in their community violence intervention infrastructure and share best practices.
Cities including Milwaukee, WI; Albuquerque, NM; Syracuse, NY; and Mobile, AL responded to the President’s call by committing and deploying ARP funds for advancing community-oriented policing.
Mayors from cities across the country including Seattle, WA; Buffalo, NY; and Atlanta, GA have committed to deploy ARP fund for community violence interventions following a memo from Senior White House advisors on how state and local officials can implement ARP funding into CVI work.
Cities across the country including St. Louis, MO and Tucson, AZ committed to investing ARP funding in public safety strategies such as summer jobs for young adults and substance abuse and mental health services.
Prevent Housing Instability and Homelessness During the President’s first year in office, the Biden-Harris Administration partnered with mayors across the country to keep Americans housed. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) included over $21 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. These funds, together with $25 billion signed into law under the previous Administration but implemented under this Administration, enabled households to catch up on rent and avoid evictions. State and local grantees obligated over $25 billion in ERA in 2021, and these funds contributed to a historically low eviction filing rate. Also included within ARP were $5 billion in supplemental funding for HOME, which enables state and local governments to create and preserve affordable housing, and $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers to help people experiencing and at risk of homelessness secure housing.
In June, 46 cities joined the White House to create eviction prevention action plans as part of a first-of-its-kind summit. More than 100 eviction diversion programs were created or expanded as part of this partnership with the White House and local leaders.
Mayors from Louisville, Milwaukee, San Antonio, and Boston shared best practices in subsequent White House events including strategies to prevent evictions and distribute rental assistance to renters and landlords in need.
Dozens of mayors have signed onto House America, a federal initiative aimed at maximizing the ARP resources to address homelessness. The goal of this initiative is to cumulatively re-house 100,000 households experiencing homelessness and add 20,000 new units of affordable housing into the development pipeline by the end of 2022.
Building an Orderly, Fair, and Humane Immigration System The Biden-Harris Administration is working to build a humane, orderly, and fair 21st century immigration system at the border and beyond. One that invests in smart technology and infrastructure at the border, that prioritizes our resources and values immigrants living in our country and contributing to our communities for generations, and that once again welcomes refugees and is a beacon of light for those seeking safe haven.
Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration took steps to undo the wrongdoings of the previous Administration, including getting rid of the Muslim ban, taking steps to protect DACA recipients, and restoring our asylum system. On day one, President Biden also sent his immigration bill to Congress – The U.S. Citizenship Act – which laid out the components needed to build an updated immigration system that reflects our values and responds to our hemisphere’s current needs.
Working with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and non-profit organizations in Mexico and the United States, the Administration assisted 13,000 people in the wind down of the Migrant Protection Protocol to fight their cases in the United States. The Administration also designated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haiti, Venezuela, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Burma, and expanded to El Salvador and Honduras.
The President tasked Vice President Harris with leading efforts to address the root causes of migration from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The Vice President announced $310 million in urgent humanitarian relief in April 2021, in addition to the President’s FY22 budget request for $861 million for Central America. The Vice President also secured $1.2 billion from the private sector to create job programs and invest in the economic stability and prosperity for our partner countries. In addition to the work the Vice President is leading, the Administration is working with countries in South America and leaders in the hemisphere to address migration as a regional issue that necessitates regional leadership and a regional response.
The Administration remains committed to immigration reform, to restoring asylum, and to working with partners to ensure the safety, security, and dignity of immigrants in the region:
Engaged mayors and cities to amplify the broad sweeping impact President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act would have on all 11 million undocumented immigrants, including farm workers and individuals with Temporary Protected Status.
Partnered with cities including San Diego, Long Beach, Pomona, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to stand up Emergency Influx Sites to provide temporary shelter and care for thousands of unaccompanied children.
Awarded $110 million in supplemental humanitarian funding to the National Board for Emergency Food and Shelter Program eligible to cities and services providers providing humanitarian assistance to migrants at the southern border.
Regularly engaged bipartisan border mayors to discuss and coordinate rebuilding America’s border management and asylum systems that were previously gutted by the prior administration. Additionally, engaged local elected leaders in the Rio Grande Valley, San Diego, and El Centro border sectors to protect border communities from the physical dangers resulting from the previous administration’s approach to border wall construction.
Welcoming Refugees and Resettlement Efforts The Biden-Harris Administration has taken a whole-of-America approach to safely, securely, and effectively welcome more than 76,000 Afghan allies to the United States through the Operation Allies Welcome.
In close coordination with Departments and Agencies across the Federal government, the Administration has worked with state and local officials; refugee resettlement organizations; veterans; faith, private sector, and non-profit leaders to ensure Afghans are set up for success in their new communities. The White House Operation Allies Welcome team provided briefings to USCM and visited resettlement sites in six states to engage with local officials and stakeholders on the frontlines of welcoming our Afghan allies. In his capacity as OAW Coordinator, Jack Markell attended the 2021 USCM Summer Meeting in Dayton, Ohio to brief mayors on their important role in the resettlement effort.
USCM Past President Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin led the effort for USCM’s resolution in support of Afghan resettlement and welcomed briefings from senior Administration officials to keep mayors updated on resettlement efforts
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner worked with local resettlement agencies to raise more than $8.5 million dollars for the Houston Afghan Resettlement Fund (HARF) to help the local resettlement agencies provide additional services for Afghan evacuees
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt collaborated with the local resettlement agency to identify additional funding stream to for affordable housing for Afghan evacuees
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor worked with the local school district to ensure a warm welcome to arriving Afghans students and families.
Sacramento Mayor Darryl Steinberg coordinated with state, county, and local leaders to create a new coalition called the American Network of Services for Afghanistan Refugees (ANSAR) to assist in meeting the needs of Afghan families.
In addition to President Biden, ten members of the President’s Cabinet spoke at the USCM Winter Meeting, including Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and EPA Administrator Regan. Senior Administration officials including ARP Coordinator Gene Sperling, Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez will also speak at the event.
(This is a fact sheet from the White House concerning its proposal for Immigration reform from August 18, 2021. The Biden Administration has come under attack from both sides concerning immigration. The problem, though, lies with inaction by Congress to adopt necessary reforms and create a new system to responsibly manage and secure the border, provide a pathway to citizenship and better manage migration.)
The United States can have an orderly, secure, and well-managed border while treating people fairly and humanely. In January, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a broad, whole of government effort to reform our immigration system, including sending to Congress legislation that creates a new system to responsibly manage and secure our border, provide a pathway to citizenship, and better manage migration across the Hemisphere.
In the months since, 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. We successfully processed over 12,500 people who had been returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols. We expanded lawful pathways for protection and opportunity, including the Central American Minors (CAM) program to reunite children with their parents in the United States. We strengthened collaborative migration management with regional partners, including through a new Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force to disrupt and prevent migrant smuggling and human trafficking operations. And we continue to deter irregular migration at our Southern border.
The Biden-Harris Administration has accomplished this and more while reckoning with the prior Administration’s cruel and reckless immigration policies, which exacerbated long-standing challenges and failed to securely manage our border. Case in point: the total number of unique encounters at the Southern border to date this fiscal year remains below the total number of unique encounters to date during fiscal year 2019 under the Trump Administration.
Today the Administration is releasing a blueprint that outlines the next steps Federal agencies will be taking to continue implementing the President’s transformative vision for a 21st century immigration system that secures the border, fairly and efficiently considers asylum claims, strengthens regional migration management efforts in North and Central America, and addresses the root causes of migration from Central America. Success in building this fair, orderly, and humane immigration system won’t be achieved overnight, especially after the prior Administration’s irrational and inhumane policies, but this Administration has a blueprint to get there and is making real progress.
We will always be a nation of borders, and we will enforce our immigration laws in a way that is fair and just. We will continue to work to fortify an orderly immigration system.
ENSURING A SECURE, HUMANE AND WELL-MANAGED BORDER
The United States can allow people to exercise their legal right to apply for asylum while also reducing irregular migration and maintaining an orderly, secure, and well-managed border.
• Making better use of existing enforcement resources. Since fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) discretionary budget has grown from $9.9 billion to $15 billion in FY 2021. The President’s Budget redirects resources from a needless border wall to make robust investments in smarter 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. These investments will serve as a force multiplier to the over 19,500 Border Patrol Agents currently helping secure our Nation’s borders and the over 25,500 CBP Officers working at our land, air, and sea ports. The investments will also facilitate more robust and effective security screening to combat human smuggling and trafficking and the entry of undocumented migrants.
• Improving the expedited removal process for those who arrive at the border. The Administration is working to improve the expedited removal process at the border to fairly and efficiently determine which individuals have legitimate claims for asylum and other forms of protection. Asylum and other legal migration pathways should remain available to those seeking protection. Those not seeking protection or who don’t qualify will be promptly removed to their countries of origin.
• Facilitating secure management of borders in the region by providing training and technical assistance, supporting the improvement of border infrastructure and technology, and promoting collaborative migration and border management approaches.
• Strengthening anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking operations by working with regional governments to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and other crimes against migrants. In April 2021, DHS announced Operation Sentinel, a new operation targeting organizations involved in criminal smuggling.
• Bolstering public messaging on migration by ensuring consistent messages to discourage irregular migration and promote safe, legal, and orderly migration.
IMPLEMENTING ORDERLY AND FAIR PROCESSING OF ASYLUM APPLICATIONS
The Administration is committed to fairly and efficiently considering asylum claims. Asylum and other legal migration pathways should remain available to those seeking protection. But those not seeking protection or who don’t qualify will be returned to their country of origin.
• Establishing a dedicated docket to consider asylum claims. The Administration has set up a special immigration court docket to promptly and fairly consider the protection claims of certain recent arrivals.
• Further improving the efficiency and fairness of the U.S. asylum system by authorizing asylum officers to adjudicate asylum claims for those arriving at the border and establishing clear and just eligibility standards that harmonize the U.S. approach with international standards. The Administration has already begun to rescind Trump administration policies and decisions that unjustly prevent individuals from obtaining asylum. On June 16, the Department of Justice reversed two of the former administration’s rulings severely restricting asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence.
• Maximizing legal representation and legal orientation programs by working closely with pro bono legal service providers. The President’s FY 2022 Budget requests $15 million to provide representation to families and vulnerable individuals, as well as $23 million to support DOJ legal orientation programs. • Reducing immigration court backlogs by ensuring priority cases are considered in a timely manner and hiring more immigration judges. The FY 2022 Budget requests an additional 100 immigration judges and provides support for additional court staff to ensure the efficient and fair processing of cases. The Department of Justice also restored the discretion of immigration judges to administratively close cases in another step to ensure priority cases are considered in a timely manner.
STRENGTHENING COLLABORATIVE MIGRATION MANAGEMENT WITH REGIONAL PARTNERS
The United States seeks to expand U.S. and multilateral efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation in Central America and strengthen regional collaborative migration management. 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.
• Providing humanitarian support to address the acute needs that pressure individuals to abandon their homes. U.S. efforts will address food insecurity and malnutrition, mitigate the impacts of successive droughts and food shortages, promote protection for vulnerable individuals, and provide materials to support rebuilding of homes and schools damaged by the hurricanes. The United States will also work with the United Nations to mobilize international support for the deteriorating situation in the Northern Triangle. As part of these efforts, the United States in April provided $255 million in assistance to meet immediate and urgent humanitarian needs for people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, refugees, other displaced people, and vulnerable migrants in the region.
• Expanding access to international protection to provide safety to individuals closer to their homes by building and improving national asylum systems, enhancing efforts to resettle refugees, and scaling up protection efforts for at-risk groups.
• Establishing Migration Resource Centers in the Northern Triangle countries with the support of international organizations and in coordination with governments in Central America to provide referrals to services for people seeking lawful pathways for migration and protection. The centers also provide referrals to reintegration support for migrants returned from the United States and other countries.
• Restarting and expanding the Central American Minors (CAM) program to provide children the opportunity to receive protection and reunite with parents in the United States. In March 2021, the United States reopened the CAM program and, in June 2021, expanded it to additional categories of eligible U.S.-based relatives who can petition for their children.
• Expanding refugee processing in the region, including in-country processing in Northern Triangle countries, and helping international organizations and local nongovernmental organizations to identify and refer individuals with urgent protection needs to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and other resettlement countries. The U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security have resumed interviewing individuals via the Protection Transfer Arrangement (PTA) to expand protection for vulnerable nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
• Expanding access to temporary work visas in the region. DHS announced a supplemental increase of 6,000 H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in FY 2021. The Administration is also exploring ways to enhance access to H-2A visas for temporary agricultural workers when there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers to fill these jobs, while ensuring strong labor protections for all workers. The Administration will also encourage other governments to develop and expand regional labor migration programs that protect workers’ rights and allow access for individuals to find meaningful, temporary work.
• Reducing immigrant visa backlogs. The United States aims to reduce the backlog of immigrant visa applications for Northern Triangle nationals as quickly as possible.
INVESTING IN CENTRAL AMERICA TO ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSES OF MIGRATION
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 impact of two major hurricanes in late 2020, a prolonged drought, and COVID-19 have aggravated these long-standing challenges. The FY 2022 Budget requests $861 million to address the root causes of migration.
• Addressing economic insecurity and inequality by investing in programs that foster a business-enabling environment for inclusive economic growth; enhancing workforce development, health, and education; and building resilience to climate change and food insecurity so individuals can find economic opportunity at home. The U.S. will also work with stakeholders to increase trade and diversify industry, as well as with the private sector to build on the Call to Action to catalyze investments in the region and support economic development.
• Combatting corruption and strengthening democratic governance by working with governments, civil society, and independent media to improve government services, increase transparency, promote accountability and respect for human rights, sanction corrupt actors, and provide protection to at-risk youth, victims of violence, and other marginalized populations.
• Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights and a free press by working with governments and civil society to strengthen legal frameworks and build institutional capacity, hold perpetrators accountable, promote labor rights compliance, and ensure citizens have access to information from independent sources to inform their choices.
• Countering and preventing violence, extortion, and other crimes by strengthening accountable law enforcement, focusing on crime prevention, and encouraging regional cooperation to address shared criminal threats. • Combatting sexual, gender-based and domestic violence by working with governments and civil society to prevent and prosecute violence and support victims.
While President Biden can implement significant parts of this strategy within his executive authority, Congress must also act. Millions of noncitizens call our country home. Immigrants are key a key part of our communities and make significant contributions to our economy. Over the past year, millions of immigrants have risked their health to work side by side with other Americans to perform jobs that are essential to the functioning of the country. They are Americans in every way but on paper. The American public supports a path to citizenship and a fair and efficient legal immigration system that welcomes talent from around the globe and allows families to reunite and make a life in our country.
Congress should pass through reconciliation or other means:
• The U.S. Citizenship Act (H.R. 1177/S. 348) that reunites families, gives businesses access to a workforce with full labor rights, and creates a path to citizenship for those already living and working in the United States. These critical reforms, coupled with measures to address the root causes of migration from Central America, will relieve pressure at the border by dissuading irregular migration.
• The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) and Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and farmworkers. Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support. They will protect millions of families, children, and essential workers who live, work, study, and worship in our communities.
On January 20, the Biden Harris Administration took the first steps in a broad, whole of government effort to finally reform our immigration system, including sending to Congress legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in and contributing to our country. On February 2, the Administration is announcing a series of additional actions it is taking to rebuild and strengthen our immigration system.
These actions build on executive actions the President took his first day in office, including steps to preserve and fortify protections for Dreamers, end the Muslim and Africa ban, halt border wall construction and protect Liberian nationals living and working in our country. On day 1, the President also sent the United States Citizenship Act to Congress, which seeks to modernize our immigration system and smartly manage our borders, while addressing the root causes of migration.
President Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair, safe and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country. President Biden knows that new Americans fuel our economy, as innovators and job creators, working in every American industry, and contributing to our arts, culture, and government.
In signing the executive orders, President Biden said:
“Today, I’m going to sign a few executive orders to strengthen our immigration system, building on the executive actions I took on day one to protect DREAMers, and the Muslim ban, and to better manage of our borders. And that’s what these three different executive orders are about.
“And I want to make it clear — there’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders that I have signed — I’m not making new law; I’m eliminating bad policy. What I’m doing is taking on the issues that — 99 percent of them — that the President — the last President of the United States issued executive orders I felt were very counterproductive to our security, counterproductive to who we are as a country, particularly in the area of immigration.
“This is about how America is safer, stronger, more prosperous when we have a fair, orderly, and humane, and legal immigration system.
“And with the first action today, we’re going to work to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration that literally, not figuratively, ripped children from the arms of their families — their mothers and fathers at the border — and with no plan, none whatsoever, to reunify the children who are still in custody and their parents.”
As he signed the first order, the reestablishment of an Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families, he said, “this removes the stain on our reputation for what these separations caused.” The second order, “Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, [and] to Manage Migration Throughout the North and Central America, and to Provide [a] Safe and Orderly Processing Of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border,” he said, “addresses the root causes of a migration to our southern border.”
The third action, Restoring [the] Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans,”orders a full review of the previous administration’s harmful and counterproductive immigration policies, basically across the board,” he said.
“As my grandfather would say: By the grace of God and the goodwill of neighbors, we’ll reunite these children and reestablish our reputation as being a haven for people in need.”
Today’s executive actions will:
Create a Task Force to Reunify Families. President Biden believes that families belong together. He has made clear that reversing the Trump Administration’s immigration policies that separated thousands of families at the border is a top priority. A key part of this effort is the creation of a task force to reunite families that remain separated. This task force will work across the U.S. government, with key stakeholders and representatives of impacted families, and with partners across the hemisphere to find parents and children separated by the Trump Administration. The task force will make recommendations to the President and federal agencies regarding steps that they can take to reunify families. Further, the task force will report regularly to the President and recommend steps to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. This Order also revokes the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that sought to justify separating children from their parents.
Develop a Strategy to Address Irregular Migration Across the Southern Border and Create a Humane Asylum System. The Trump Administration’s policies at the border have caused chaos, cruelty and confusion. Those policies have undermined the safety of our communities, penalized asylum seekers fleeing violence, and destabilized security across the Western hemisphere. Today, the Biden Harris Administration will begin to roll back the most damaging policies adopted by the prior administration, while taking effective action to manage migration across the region.
Specifically, the Biden Harris Administration will begin implementing a comprehensive three-part plan for safe, lawful, and orderly migration in the region. First, the Administration will address the underlying causes of migration through a strategy to confront the instability, violence, and economic insecurity that currently drives migrants from their homes. Second, the Administration will collaborate with regional partners, including foreign governments, international organizations, and nonprofits to shore up other countries’ capacity to provide protection and opportunities to asylum seekers and migrants closer to home. Finally, the Administration will ensure that Central American refugees and asylum seekers have access to legal avenues to the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security is also directed to review the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program. The situation at the border will not transform overnight, due in large part to the damage done over the last four years. But the President is committed to an approach that keeps our country safe, strong, and prosperous and that also aligns with our values. This Executive Order also directs a series of actions to restore the U.S. asylum system, including by rescinding and directing agency review of a host of Trump Administration proclamations, rules, and guidance documents that have effectively closed the U.S. border to asylum seekers.
Restore Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Promote Integration of New Americans. President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future. The prior administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America’s character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity. This Executive Order elevates the role of the White House in coordinating the federal government’s strategy to promote immigrant integration and inclusion, including re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans, and ensuring that our legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently. The order requires agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have set up barriers to our legal immigration system. It also rescinds President Trump’s memorandum requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits, instructs the agencies to review the public charge rule and related policies, and streamline the naturalization process.
On January 20, soon after sitting in the Oval Office for the first time after his inauguration, President Biden stated he was sending to Congress a bill to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system.”
The bill provides hardworking people who enrich our communities every day and who have lived here for years, in some cases for decades, an opportunity to earn citizenship. The legislation modernizes our immigration system, and prioritizes keeping families together, growing our economy, responsibly managing the border with smart investments, addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, and ensuring that the United States remains a refuge for those fleeing persecution. The bill will stimulate our economy while ensuring that every worker is protected. The bill creates an earned path to citizenship for our immigrant neighbors, colleagues, parishioners, community leaders, friends, and loved ones—including Dreamers and the essential workers who have risked their lives to serve and protect American communities.
The U.S. Citizenship Act will:
PROVIDE PATHWAYS TO CITIZENSHIP & STRENGTHEN LABOR PROTECTIONS
Create an earned roadmap to citizenship for undocumented individuals. The bill allows undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status, with the ability to apply for green cards after five years if they pass criminal and national security background checks and pay their taxes. Dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers who meet specific requirements are eligible for green cards immediately under the legislation. After three years, all green card holders who pass additional background checks and demonstrate knowledge of English and U.S. civics can apply to become citizens. Applicants must be physically present in the United States on or before January 1, 2021. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may waive the presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017 who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and other humanitarian purposes. Lastly, the bill further recognizes America as a nation of immigrants by changing the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in our immigration laws.
Keep families together. The bill reforms the family-based immigration system by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating lengthy wait times, and increasing per-country visa caps. It also eliminates the so-called “3 and 10-year bars,” and other provisions that keep families apart. The bill further supports familes by more explicitly including permanent partnerships and eliminating discrimination facing LGBTQ+ families. It also provides protections for orphans, widows, children, and Filipino veterans who fought alongside the United States in World War II. Lastly, the bill allows immigrants with approved family-sponsorship petitions to join family in the United States on a temporary basis while they wait for green cards to become available.
Embrace diversity. The bill includes the NO BAN Act that prohibits discrimination based on religion and limits presidential authority to issue future bans. The bill also increases Diversity Visas to 80,000 from 55,000.
Promote immigrant and refugee integration and citizenship. The bill provides new funding to state and local governments, private organizations, educational institutions, community-based organizations, and not-for-profit organizations to expand programs to promote integration and inclusion, increase English-language instruction, and provide assistance to individuals seeking to become citizens.
Grow our economy. This bill clears employment-based visa backlogs, recaptures unused visas, reduces lengthy wait times, and eliminates per-country visa caps. The bill makes it easier for graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the United States; improves access to green cards for workers in lower-wage sectors; and eliminates other unnecessary hurdles for employment-based green cards. The bill provides dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorization, and children are prevented from “aging out” of the system. The bill also creates a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development, gives DHS the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, and incentivizes higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers.
Protect workers from exploitation and improve the employment verification process. The bill requires that DHS and the Department of Labor establish a commission involving labor, employer, and civil rights organizations to make recommendations for improving the employment verification process. Workers who suffer serious labor violations and cooperate with worker protection agencies will be granted greater access to U visa relief. The bill protects workers who are victims of workplace retaliation from deportation in order to allow labor agencies to interview these workers. It also protects migrant and seasonal workers, and increases penalties for employers who violate labor laws.
PRIORITIZE SMART BORDER CONTROLS
Supplement existing border resources with technology and infrastructure. The legislation builds on record budget allocations for immigration enforcement by authorizing additional funding for the Secretary of DHS to develop and implement a plan to deploy technology to expedite screening and enhance the ability to identify narcotics and other contraband at every land, air, and sea port of entry. This includes high-throughput scanning technologies to ensure that all commercial and passenger vehicles and freight rail traffic entering the United States at land ports of entry and rail-border crossings along the border undergo pre-primary scanning. It also authorizes and provides funding for plans to improve infrastructure at ports of entry to enhance the ability to process asylum seekers and detect, interdict, disrupt and prevent narcotics from entering the United States. It authorizes the DHS Secretary to develop and implement a strategy to manage and secure the southern border between ports of entry that focuses on flexible solutions and technologies that expand the ability to detect illicit activity, evaluate the effectiveness of border security operations, and be easily relocated and broken out by Border Patrol Sector. To protect privacy, the DHS Inspector General is authorized to conduct oversight to ensure that employed technology effectively serves legitimate agency purposes.
Manage the border and protect border communities. The bill provides funding for training and continuing education to promote agent and officer safety and professionalism. It also creates a Border Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee, provides more special agents at the DHS Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate criminal and administrative misconduct, and requires the issuance of department-wide policies governing the use of force. The bill directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of DHS’s authority to waive environmental and state and federal laws to expedite the construction of barriers and roads near U.S. borders and provides for additional rescue beacons to prevent needless deaths along the border. The bill authorizes and provides funding for DHS, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and nongovernmental experts, to develop guidelines and protocols for standards of care for individuals, families, and children in CBP custody.
Crack down on criminal organizations. The bill enhances the ability to prosecute individuals involved in smuggling and trafficking networks who are responsible for the exploitation of migrants. It also expands investigations, intelligence collection and analysis pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act to increase sanctions against foreign narcotics traffickers, their organizations and networks. The bill also requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and DHS, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to improve and expand transnational anti-gang task forces in Central America.
ADDRESS ROOT CAUSES OF MIGRATION
Start from the source. The bill codifies and funds the President’s $4 billion four-year inter-agency plan to address the underlying causes of migration in the region, including by increasing assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, conditioned on their ability to reduce the endemic corruption, violence, and poverty that causes people to flee their home countries. It also creates safe and legal channels for people to seek protection, including by establishing Designated Processing Centers throughout Central America to register and process displaced persons for refugee resettlement and other lawful migration avenues—either to the United States or other partner countries. The bill also re-institutes the Central American Minors program to reunite children with U.S. relatives and creates a Central American Family Reunification Parole Program to more quickly unite families with approved family sponsorship petitions.
Improve the immigration courts and protect vulnerable individuals. The bill expands family case management programs, reduces immigration court backlogs, expands training for immigration judges, and improves technology for immigration courts. The bill also restores fairness and balance to our immigration system by providing judges and adjudicators with discretion to review cases and grant relief to deserving individuals. Funding is authorized for legal orientation programs and counsel for children, vulnerable individuals, and others when necessary to ensure the fair and efficient resolution of their claims. The bill also provides funding for school districts educating unaccompanied children, while clarifying sponsor responsibilities for such children.
Support asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations. The bill eliminates the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims and provides funding to reduce asylum application backlogs. It also increases protections for U visa, T visa, and VAWA applicants, including by raising the cap on U visas from 10,000 to 30,000. The bill also expands protections for foreign nationals assisting U.S. troops.
On World Refugee Day, Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, issued this statement attacking the “fear-mongering, xenophobia and racism” as the “unabashed tenets of Trump’s refugee and immigration policy, and promised to “recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.”
Here is his statement:
World Refugee Day is the time when all nations recognize the humanity and resilience of the millions of people forced from their homes by persecution, war, and violence and renew our commitment to protect the most vulnerable. The United States has always strived to serve as a beacon of hope — a role model in resettling refugees and leading the humanitarian response abroad. But today is also a bitter reminder of how Donald Trump has tried to change America from a nation of refuge and liberty to one of division and intolerance.
Fear-mongering, xenophobia, and racism are the unabashed tenets of Trump’s refugee and immigration policy, and his divisive, dangerous, and undemocratic response to Black Lives Matter is a reminder of this administration’s devaluation of Black, Brown, and other minority communities not only in the United States, but around the world. But we will not, and we cannot, allow hate and rage to divide us further. Decades ago, giants of the civil rights movement like Bayard Rustin recognized the universal fight for freedom and safety and urged the United States to accept more refugees. Their call is even more urgent today as the number of those forcibly displaced worldwide reaches nearly 80 million people worldwide — roughly 1 percent of humanity.
Donald Trump has made clear that he does not believe our country should be a place of refuge. He has slashed refugee admissions by more than 80 percent and, just this past week, released an immoral and likely unlawful rule that makes it nearly impossible for most asylum-seekers to qualify for protection in the United States . He has cruelly separated thousands of children from their parents, sought to prevent victims of gang and domestic violence from receiving asylum, and severely limited the ability of members of the LGBTQ+ community, an especially vulnerable group in many parts of the world, from qualifying for asylum.
And he has turned his back on the men and women who served honorably alongside our soldiers, diplomats, and aid workers in Iraq and Afghanistan as interpreters and guides, and now find that their lives, and the lives of their families, are threatened for this service. This cannot stand. As one of the co-sponsors of the 1980 Refugee Act, I believe that resettling refugees helps reunite families, enriches the fabric of America, and enhances our standing, influence, and security in the world. Right now, many refugees are also working on the frontlines of the pandemic response, as nursing aides, doctors, meatpackers, and grocery clerks, among other essential workers.
Restoring America’s historic role as leader in resettlement and defending the rights of refugees everywhere will take concrete action.
As President, I will increase the number of refugees we welcome into this country, setting an annual global refugee target of 125,000 — up from a ceiling of 18,000 under Trump — and will seek to further raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.
I will support efforts to work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion to protect our refugee policy from drastic and arbitrary reductions we have seen during the Trump Administration and establish a minimum admissions number of at least 95,000 refugees annually.
I will pursue policies that increase opportunities for faith and local communities to sponsor refugee resettlement.
I will make more channels, such as higher education visas, available to those seeking safety. I will repeal the Muslim ban — and other discriminatory bans based on ethnicity and nationality — and restore asylum laws, including ending the horrific practice of separating families at our border.
I will work with our allies and partners to stand against China’s assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms and mass detention and repression of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities and support a pathway for those persecuted to find safe haven in the United States and other nations.
I also recognize that it is not enough to simply reverse or dismantle the heartless policies of the Trump Administration. We need to look for ways to do better. On this World Refugee Day, we all must stand together and recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.
The vigorous contest of Democrats running for president has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Elizabeth Warren released her plan for Justice for Border Communities – a stark contrast to what Trump has done to punish asylum seekers, separating children from their parents, and most recently, using the coronavirus pandemic to raise the prospect of shutting the border to Mexico entirely.
“Our border region is made up of multinational, multicultural, economically vibrant communities that reflect the best of what our country can be. From affordable housing to investing in small businesses to stopping Trump’s monument to hate, we can make big, structural change to promote accountability, opportunity, and prosperity at the border,” Senator Warren stated.
This is from the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren, running for president, released her plan to ensure accountability in our border communities by rolling back the Trump administration’s incessant militarization, immediately stopping the construction of Trump’s wall on the border between Mexico and the United States, creating a fair and welcoming immigration system, and respecting the rights of people and our fragile border ecosystem.
She will also work to build a 21st century border economy by boosting small businesses, growing access to financial services, closing the digital divide, uplifting labor and environmental protections through trade, and developing the green workforce of the future.
Some new proposals in her plan include:
In her first 100 days, she will convene a borderlands
summit, bringing together federal, state, and local representatives, Tribal
Nations, members of the business community, community organizations and
stakeholders to undo the harm of the Trump administration and create more
prosperity in the region.
She will create a new position in the White House that
serves as an advisor to the president on border communities. This person will
direct an Interagency Task Force on Border Community Prosperity and coordinate
the entire federal government’s investment in our border communities.
She will end Trump’s deployment of military forces to the
Despite the immediate public health threat, the Trump
administration is demanding that we cut spending elsewhere to pay for emergency
funding we need to prepare for and respond to coronavirus — so she is
introducing a bill in the Senate to redirect funding diverted to the wall
toward coronavirus instead.
She will end Constitution-Free Zones: She will hold
immigration enforcement to the same due process and standards as other law
enforcement agencies — no more warrantless property searches, no more
arbitrary stops, no more violations of basic Constitutional rights.
She will reverse the Trump administration’s policy giving
Border Patrol agents the power to make “credible fear” determinations for
asylum-seekers rather than asylum officers.
She will invest resources in more culturally competent asylum
officers and immigration judges and better coordinate a full federal government
response to the humanitarian crisis at the border, just like we would with FEMA
under a natural disaster.
She will pardon those convicted of providing food and water
to migrants — because no one should go to jail simply for providing
humanitarian aid to another person in need.
She will create a Border Health Initiative within the
Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to focus on strengthening these health
institutions in ways that serve the unique needs of this region and its people.
She will build a 21st century border economy by investing in
our ports of entry.
The campaign recently did a Texas Latino Engagement tour —
and listened and learned from hundreds of Latino, Latina, and Latinx people in
San Antonio, Laredo, McAllen, Corpus Christi, and Houston.
Elizabeth will be in San
Antonio with former Secretary of HUD Julián Castro today.
But the challenges at the border did not start with Donald Trump’s ignorance
and bigotry. For decades, decisions made in Washington have divided and
disrupted communities, cities, Tribal Nations, and families — many of whom
have lived along what is now the border for longer than the United States has
The 15 million residents living
in our Southern borderlands — from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego, California
— deserve a champion and a partner in the White House. Building an
America that reflects our values means elevating the voices of those who have
traditionally been overlooked and underserved. We’ve got to make sure everyone
has a seat at the table, and that includes border communities and immigrant
advocacy groups. In my first 100 days, I will convene a borderlands summit,
bringing together federal, state, and local representatives, Tribal Nations,
members of the business community, community organizations, and stakeholders to
undo the harm of the Trump administration and create more prosperity in the
region. I will also create a new position in the White House that serves as an
advisor to the president on border communities. This person will direct an
Interagency Task Force on Border Community Prosperity and coordinate the entire
federal government’s investment in our border communities.
A Warren administration will ensure accountability in our border
communities by rolling back the Trump administration’s incessant
militarization of the border, creating a fair and welcoming immigration system,
and respecting the rights of people and our fragile border ecosystem. I’ll
fight for healthy and safe border communities with affordable housing,
high-quality education, health care, and economic opportunities. And together,
we’ll build a 21st century border economy by boosting small
businesses, growing access to financial services, closing the digital divide,
uplifting labor and environmental protections through trade, and developing the
green workforce of the future.
Accountability in Border Communities
We need a federal government that’s accountable to our border
communities. That means an immigration system that keeps families
together, preserves our security, grows our economy, honors our Constitution,
and reflects our values. That also means an approach to national security that
respects the rights of people and our fragile border ecosystems. As president,
my administration will:
Welcome those in need and protect rights and due process. My immigration plan commits
to decriminalizing migration, significantly reducing detention and ending
private detention facilities, providing rights and due process for all
immigrants, reaffirming asylum protections for those fleeing violence, and
ending policies like metering and the “Remain in Mexico” policy. As president,
I’ll also reverse the Trump administration’s policy giving Border Patrol agents
the power to make “credible fear” determinations for asylum-seekers rather than
asylum officers. A Warren administration will invest resources in more
culturally competent asylum officers and immigration judges and better
coordinate a full federal government response to the humanitarian crisis at the
border, just like we would with FEMA during a natural disaster. And I’ll pardon
those convicted of providing food and water to migrants — because no
one should go to jail simply for providing humanitarian aid to another person
Remake CBP and ICE in a way that reflects our values. We
spend billions of dollars each year on a
massive and cruel immigration detention and enforcement system that
breaks up families and keeps thousands locked up — with little evidence that it makes
our nation safer.A Warren
administration will reshape CBP and ICE from top to bottom, reducing
funding for detention and instead focusing their efforts on ports of entry and
homeland security efforts like screening cargo, identifying counterfeit goods,
and preventing smuggling and trafficking. And to change the culture, I’ll
insist on transparency and strengthen the authorities of independent internal
watchdogs to prevent future abuses. I’ll designate a Justice Department task
force to investigate accusations of serious violations, and give it independent
authority to pursue any substantiated criminal allegations.
The Supreme Court ruling that a family can’t seek damages after
their son was killed by a border patrol agent because he was on
the Mexican side of the border when the agent shot him shows us that our system
of accountability is broken. In spite of the Supreme Court’s decision, a few
steps to one side of the border or another should not serve to forfeit basic
rights. As president, I’ll work to reverse the decision legislatively in order
to ensure accountability for victims of border patrol violence — regardless of
the side of the border. Furthermore, I support requiring Customs and Border
Patrol (CBP) agents to wear body cameras, a best practice in local law
enforcement that reduces use-of-force incidents and increases transparency.
And as new technology is deployed, a Warren administration will monitor
violations of privacy and limit the use of facial-recognition software. Let
there be no ambiguity on this: if you are violating the basic rights of
immigrants, now or in the future, a Warren administration will hold you
Stop Trump’s Militarization of the Border. Despite Trump’s
rhetoric, the people seeking asylum at the southern border are not a threat to
our national security. And Trump’s wall is a monument to hate — and only the
latest attempt to treat the southern border as a war zone rather than as a
vibrant community. Many of the apprehensions at the border are families and
children who commonly turn themselves in to
Border Patrol to apply for asylum. This is a humanitarian
crisis in need of medical doctors, immigration lawyers, and social workers —
not military troops. As president, I will end Trump’s deployment of
military forces to the border. I’ve listened to communities at the border when
they say we do not need Trump’s failed wall, and I will immediately stop the
construction of Trump’s wall on the border between Mexico and the United
States. I will also work to repeal the sections of law that allow the federal government to
waive federal procurement rules or environmental impact reviews.
Despite the immediate public health threat, the Trump administration is demanding
that we cut spending elsewhere to pay for emergency funding we need to prepare
for and respond to coronavirus — so I am introducing a bill in the Senate to
redirect funding diverted to the wall toward coronavirus instead. We need to
get our priorities straight and focus on keeping the American people safe,
rather than funding some useless vanity project. Let’s be clear: our border
communities are not a war zone.
End Constitution-Free Zones. CBP has the authority to
operate within 100 miles of any “external boundary” — an area deep into
the interior of the country that covers about 200 million people, including
9 of the 10 largest U.S. cities. The Border Patrol operates numerous
immigration checkpoints and regularly stops people to check their immigration
status, raising concerns about racial profiling and violations of the
Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections. During natural disasters and daily
life, immigrant families are afraid to travel freely in their own communities.
Citizens of Tribal Nations such as the Tohono O’odham Nation who have tribal ID cards face
unnecessary hurdles with border patrol checkpoints. Agents also have the authority to enter private property
(except dwellings) 25 miles from the border, which includes almost
all of El Paso. There is no reason Border Patrol agents should have special
access to private property without receiving a warrant from a judge just like
the rest of law enforcement. As president, I will hold immigration enforcement
to the same due process and standards as other law enforcement agencies — no
more warrantless property searches, no more arbitrary stops, no more violations
of basic Constitutional rights. It’s time to rein in CBP, and ensure everyone’s
rights are respected.
Root Out White Nationalism. We need to call out white
nationalism for what it is—domestic terrorism. It is a threat to
American safety and security. In a Warren administration, we will use every
tool we have to defeat it, and that includes from within our military, our law
enforcement, and our immigration enforcement agencies. To start, I will
instruct these federal agencies to tighten their background check processes and
to better track incidents of bias crimes and reports of affiliation with white
nationalist or neo-Nazi groups in their ranks. Extremist ideology is a threat
to our values, and it has no place inside our government. As part of my plan to
reshape ICE and CBP, I’ve said that I will strengthen the authorities of
independent internal watchdogs to prevent future abuses. This includes tasking
the Inspectors General at both agencies to focus explicitly on reports of bias
crimes or racism on the job. A Warren administration will have zero tolerance
for these types of infractions.
From the 1918 Porvenir massacre through
today, we must also recognize the long history of racist violence along
the U.S.-Mexico border. Tragically, we have seen how this horrific
history repeated itself just last August, when a white nationalist, directly
echoing the rhetoric of President Trump, drove hundreds of miles to commit an
act of terror against the people of El Paso. As I laid out in my plan to combat white nationalism,
combatting white nationalist crime will be a top priority for the Departments
of Justice and Homeland Security in a Warren administration. My administration
will also work with federal and local law enforcement to crack down on
dangerous anti-immigrant vigilante militias at the border, which often include members of hate groups or
individuals with a history of violence,
including against U.S. citizens.
Respect Tribal Sovereignty. My plan for public lands
includes aggressive steps to
stop private interests from pillaging sacred lands. I will use all legal
authorities, including the Native American Graves
Protection and Repatriation Act, to protect sacred sites like Organ
Pipe. And absent extraordinary circumstances, respect for tribal sovereignty
means that no project, development or federal decision that will have a
significant impact on a tribal community, their lands, resources, members or
religious practices, should proceed without the free, prior, and informed
consent of the Tribal Nation concerned. I have also called for a new Sacred Lands Religious
Freedom Restoration Act to dramatically improve the
ability of Tribal Nations to block the imposition of development, extraction,
and land use decisions with respect to tribal lands.
Fighting for Safe, Healthy, High-Quality Living on the Border
A generation of barely budging wages and rising costs for basics like housing,
health care, child care, and education have squeezed family budgets. Many
families living in communities at our borders are hanging on by their
A lack of affordable housing and decades of systemic discrimination has
driven hundreds of thousands of people,
predominantly U.S. citizens of Mexican-descent, in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico,
and California to live in neighborhoods, called colonias, without basic
necessities like potable water, electricity, and safe housing. Border
communities have uninsured rates that are much higher than the national average
and have some of the highest rates of chronic diseases like diabetes in the
country. In the colonias in Texas, over 50% of adults do not have a
high school diploma.
A Warren administration will:
Invest in safe and affordable housing for all. My Housing Plan for America invests
$500 billion over the next ten years to build, preserve, and rehab more than
three million units that will be affordable to lower-income families —
including $523 million to create 380,000 affordable rental homes in rural
communities and $2.5 billion to build or rehabilitate 200,000 homes on
tribal lands, where overcrowding, homelessness, and substandard
housing have reached crisis levels. My plan will lower rents by 10%, reform
land-use rules that restrict affordable housing construction and further racial
segregation, and take a critical first step towards closing the racial wealth gap.
My plan to protect and empower renters tackles the growing cost of rent,
strengthens fair housing law and enforcement, fights for a nationwide right to
counsel for low-income tenants in eviction proceedings, and creates a national
small dollar grant program to help make sure families aren’t evicted because of
My administration will also take on “land contracts”
agreements, predatory loans that arefrequently targeted at
communities of color and areprevalent in border communities. In
these contracts, tenant-buyers can be subject to unjust eviction
proceedings, homes can be in such bad condition they’re basically
uninhabitable, interest rates exorbitantly high, and in the case of some
colonias, developers have failed to provide basic infrastructure
like a sewer system or paved roads. And because of the “forfeiture clause”
embedded in these kinds of agreements, if tenants fall behind on these
high-interest payments, lenders can seize the property — and keep the payments
that have been made as “liquidated damages.”
Texas is one state that has moved toward increasing protections after
a certain amount has been paid, but there’s more we can do. I’ll choose a CFPB
Director committed to reining in land contracts, work with states to require
that these contracts be recorded to collect better data and formalize land
titling, and strengthen protections and rights of these residents to ensure
their property isn’t lost to exploitative practices and can be passed onto
Protect Clean Water.Clean water is
vital to our health and welfare and to our economy. But decades of
environmental racism have allowed corporate polluters to
pump dangerous amounts of pollution into our border communities and unaccountable developers to
leave these communities without the resources and infrastructure to take it
on. 30% of people living in colonias
don’t have safe drinking water. Meanwhile, border communities have
been battling toxic waste dumping in
their neighborhoods. And yet, Trump’s 2021 budget proposal eliminates much of
the federal money allocated for water and wastewater projects that could have
been used to work towards clean drinking water in border regions.
A Warren administration will invest in our nation’s water systems. I have
committed to fully capitalize the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the
Clean Water State Revolving Fund to refurbish old water infrastructure and
support ongoing water treatment operations and maintenance, prioritizing the
communities most heavily impacted by inadequate water infrastructure. I will
also fully enforce Safe Drinking Water Act standards for all public water
systems and aggressively regulate chemicals that make their way into our water
supply, including from agricultural runoff. I’ll restore all funding to water
and wastewater projects the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate.
And, for the thousands of people who rely on private
sources for drinking water, a Warren administration will fight for
adequate funding so that everyone can have access to safe water. I’ll also make
giant agribusinesses pay the full costs of the environmental damage they wreak
on the border communities that surround them by closing the loopholes that they
use to get away with polluting and by beefing up enforcement of the Clean Air
and Clean Water Acts against them.
Health care is a human right and that’s why we need
Medicare for All. Under Medicare for All, every single person in this
country will be able to see the doctor they need and get their recommended
treatments. As president, I will immediately act to lower the cost of
prescription drugs, using every available tool to bring pressure on the big
drug companies and bring down the high costs of many common prescription drugs,
including Insulin. And within 100 days, I’ll work with Congress to expand
coverage to every American by expanding Medicare and creating a Medicare for
All option that is free for all kids and families at or below 200 percent of
While we work to deliver Medicare for All, a Warren
administration will roll back the Trump administration’s efforts to rip health
coverage away from people. The Trump administration’s reinterpretation of
Section 1557 would undermine critical nondiscrimination protections, weakening
requirements to make health information language-accessible. As president, I will
direct HHS to reinstate the Obama administration’s 2016 guidance that fully
upholds civil rights and nondiscrimination protections. I’ll roll back the
Trump administration’s Public Charge rule change, which is harming immigrants
with disabilities and forcing immigrant families to choose between staying
together and ensuring their children can get critical services. And I’ll
reverse the Trump administration’s harmful Medicaid policies, like work
requirements and block grants, that take coverage away from low-income
individuals and families.
Strengthen the Health System. While coverage is critical,
it’s only part of ensuring access to high-quality care. We also have a
responsibility to make sure that places that have experienced a loss in
services or are otherwise medically underserved get support to improve their
health systems and meet the needs of their communities.
That’s why I’ve committed to protecting health care in rural communities by
creating a new designation under Medicare for rural hospitals, ending the
harmful effects of consolidation, and dramatically increasing funding for
Community Health Centers. I will also establish a $25 billion dollar capital
fund to support a menu of options for improving care in health professional
shortage areas, including: constructing a new facility like a
Community Health Center, Rural Health Clinic, School-Based Health Center, or
birthing center; expanding capacity or services at an existing clinic;
establishing pharmacy services or a telemedicine program; supporting a diabetes
self-management education program; improving transportation to the nearest
hospital; or piloting models like mobile clinics and community paramedicine
programs. A Warren administration will also expand our health care workforce by
investing more resources in building the pipeline of culturally-competent and
language-inclusive medical professionals in rural areas and other areas with
shortages, from physicians to promotoras.
But we also need to support robust public health efforts to keep these
communities healthy and prepared to handle potential outbreaks — and to work
in partnership with the international community, including Mexico, in our
global health response. That’s why I’ve committed to fully fund the critical
agencies that support our public health infrastructure. To
double down on this commitment in the border region, I will also create a
Border Health Initiative within the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to
focus on strengthening these institutions in ways that serve the unique needs
of this region and its people.
Fight for high-quality education from the earliest years through college. 33 of the 44 counties along the
Southern border are non-metropolitan counties. Today, a majority of rural communities lack
sufficient access to child care. My plan for Universal Child Care will
provide high-quality child care free for millions and affordable for everyone.
My administration will also work closely with local providers and tribal
governments to make sure there are high-quality child care options available in
every community — including home-based child care services. And as part of a
comprehensive early childhood education system, I will ensure all children can
attend free high-quality universal pre-K.
I’m also committed to protecting English Language Learners by enforcing their
rights to meaningful access to rigorous coursework, teachers, special education
services, and integration with the rest of the student body, while fostering
their home language. And I will protect the rights of immigrant students,
ensuring that all immigrant children have access to a quality education, no
matter their native language, national origin, or immigration status.
Border states are
facing an acute teacher shortage.
My administration will treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are
by strengthening the ability of educators to organize and bargain for just
compensation and ensure that educators aren’t drowning in debt. I’ll also build
a more diverse teacher and school leadership pipeline by investing in Grow Your
Own and teacher residency programs. And I will push to fully fund the Teacher
Quality Partnership program to support teacher residency programs in high-need
areas, like rural communities, and in areas of expertise like Special Education
and Bilingual Education.
My student debt cancellation and
universal public college plan will cancel up to $50,000 in
student loan debt for more than 95% of Americans who carry it and make two-year
or four-year public college or technical school free. My plan also makes a
minimum $50 billion investment in HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal
Colleges and Universities, and other Minority-Serving Institutions.
Prevent Gun Violence in Border Communities and in Mexico. After
Trump, we’ll have work to do to restore our relationship with our Mexican
neighbors. One area where we can begin to make improvements immediately is
in stopping the flow of American guns
to Mexico. As Mexico struggles with record violence, Americans must
face the fact that our weak gun laws have not only fed an epidemic of gun
violence at home, but are also a leading driver of instability among our
neighbors. This instability in turn is displacing people across Mexico and
elsewhere in Latin America, feeding the humanitarian crisis that border
communities in both the U.S. and Mexico are facing today. I will fight to end gun violence,
recognizing that this is part of addressing the root causes of migration and improving
our relationship with Mexico. And as president, I will pass a new federal
anti-trafficking law making clear “straw purchases” are a federal crime and
prosecute gun traffickers by instructing my Attorney General to go after the
transnational gun trade with all the resources of the federal government.
Building a 21st Century Border Economy
A thriving border economy is crucial to the economic wellbeing of the rest of
our country. And when Trump has threatened to shut it down, the ramifications
have been felt quickly and acutely. In 2018, a 5 hour border crossing closure
at San Ysidro in California — the busiest land border crossing in
the world — cost local businesses $5.3 million. We
need a strong border economy that works for everyone. That means investments in
local small businesses, growing access to financial services, closing the
digital divide, trade that uplifts labor and environmental protections, and
developing the green workforce of the future.
Boosting Small Businesses. Small businesses are
essential to the prosperity of border communities, but these businesses have
been harmed by increased border militarization and Trump’s reckless tariff by tweet approach
to trade. People along the U.S.-Mexico border also confront barriers to
accessing the capital and financial services necessary to start and grow their
businesses — barriers that disproportionately affect Latino,
Native American, and Black entrepreneurs. My comprehensive agenda to boost
America’s small businesses will level the playing field for
small business owners on the border by providing access to credit, helping
small businesses deal with regulatory requirements, and unleashing the full
purchasing power of the federal government to support small businesses.
Protecting and Expanding Financial Services. The number of
rural counties without a locally owned community bank has doubled since 1994, and
border communities are increasingly becoming banking
deserts. I’ve proposed allowing the U.S. Postal Service to partner with
local community banks and credit unions to provide access to
low-cost, basic banking services online and at post offices. A Warren
Administration will also strengthen lending to small businesses in underserved
areas by expanding support for Community Development Financial Institutions,
which provide an important source of funding for
women, people of color, and rural communities. As president, my
administration will also protect immigrant families sending remittances by
enacting stronger rules at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau around
remittances to ensure fees are transparent, and I will oppose President Trump’s
proposed tax on remittances that targets wire transfers to Mexico, Latin
America, and the Caribbean to pay for his wall.
Extend Broadband to Border Communities. The communities
along the U.S.-Mexico border have some of the lowest levels of internet
connectivity in the nation. This digital divide is a
major barrier for people to find jobs, students to complete homework, small
business to connect to new markets, and it holds back the entire community.
That’s why as president, I will make it clear in federal statute that
municipalities have the right to build their own broadband networks and
establish a new $85 billion federal grant program to
massively expand broadband access across the country. I will also require all
telecommunications services to contribute fairly into the Universal Service
Fund to shore up essential universal service programs that provide subsidies to
low-income individuals, schools, and libraries to increase broadband adoption –
because every home in America deserves a fiber broadband connection at a price
families can afford.
Decreasing Wait Times. Under the Trump Administration, wait times
at ports of entry are dramatically increasing, reducing trade and commerce
and even impacting air quality for
surrounding communities. Every day almost $2 billion worth of products crosses
the U.S.-Mexico border, but delays in Texas can exceed 10 hours — this is
unacceptable. In places like Deming, New Mexico, students pushed across the
border because of unaffordable housing or to be with deported family
members get up at dawn to wait hours
through highly-militarized security checks to make it to school on
the U.S.-side on time. An estimated 40,000 children cross the
U.S.-Mexico border for school every day. First, we will
invest in dedicated pedestrian lanes for both U.S. citizens and students, and
the “All Lanes Open Initiative” so that there is better traffic flow
during the morning rush and expand the program to include evenings. We also
need to completely repeal the “hardening measures,” such as concrete
barriers topped with razor wire, and limit “tactical exercises” that create
choke points and slow down traffic. With the passage of the USMCA, we will
increase the number of custom officials and invest in modern technology to more
efficiently and effectively inspect and verify goods.
Leveling the Playing Field with Trade. As a Senator, I voted
for the USMCA — the revised NAFTA agreement. I supported the agreement because
it made some improvements for American workers, farmers, and consumers, and
Mexican workers too. It guarantees the right to organize for Mexican workers,
provides for new investments in combating pollution such as $300 million
to stop cross-border sewage flows,
and strengthens diplomatic ties with our neighbors at a time that President
Trump seeks to divide us.
But we will do much better for border communities in a Warren administration.
We need a new approach to trade that works for Americans who have been left
behind, including the communities on the U.S.-Mexico border. Instead of pursuing
a race to the bottom when it comes to worker’s rights and environmental
protection, it is time to use our leverage of the American market to encourage
other countries, including Mexico, to elevate their policies. When we raise
labor and environmental standards worldwide, we help millions of people living
abroad and let American workers compete on a more level playing field.
Building the Green Workforce of the Future. Border states
are emerging as leaders of the new green economy.Texas is the leading producer of
wind energy in the country, California is the leading producer
of solar energy, and clean energy investments in New Mexico and Arizona are on the
rise. To really bend the curve on climate, we’ll need sustained big, structural
change across a range of industries and sectors. My administration will commit
to investments in retraining, joint labor management apprenticeships, and
creating strong career pipelines to ensure a continuous supply of skilled,
available workers. And, we will look for every opportunity to partner with high
schools and vocational schools to build pathways to the middle class for kids
who opt not to go to college. Outside experts that have looked at my ideas for
a Green New Deal to analyze how they will drive job creation have estimated
that they will create 10.6 million new green jobs.
That means millions of new clean energy jobs in border states and honoring our
commitments and a just transition for fossil fuel workers, so that no one is
Honoring our Border Servicemembers and Veterans. Military
bases and military families are key drivers of local border economies, from the
Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma to Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio. Rather
than defunding military projects — like military base child care
facilities — to build Trump’s “wall”, we should be investing
in military readiness, infrastructure, and veterans and their families. From
military housing and child care to a 21st century VA system, I will keep our
promise to care for our nation’s veterans, service members, and military