Priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration's
First 100 Days: Immigration
First 100 Days: Immigration
Immigrants make our country stronger. The arrival of immigrants has enriched whole communities. Much like new Americans of centuries past, more recent immigrants continue to contribute greatly to our nation’s economy, culture, and overall well-being. This transformation has always been difficult. Anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation in the United States has reached dangerous heights in recent years. The failure of Congress to enact more humane and fair immigration reform has clouded the future of immigrant families, torn families apart, or made them live in daily fear of deportation. We urge the Biden-Harris Administration to change this by implementing the following policies as soon as possible.
Communities like ours, that have already been marginalized by structural barriers to equal opportunities and have low levels of wealth, are particularly vulnerable during all emergencies, whether natural disasters, economic downturns, or a health pandemic like the one caused by COVID-19. In order to respond to the crisis being faced by Latinos due to COVID-19, as well as to address other issues negatively impacting Hispanic and immigrant communities across the country, we urge the Biden-Harris administration to implement the following policies as soon as possible.
Primeros 100 Actions:
Include immigrants regardless of status, in all COVID-related relief packages, health care, and vaccination programs.
- Ensure privacy guardrails are in place for health data collection efforts related to COVID treatment.
Direct DHS to rescind DHS and DOS’s “public charge” rules which have had a chilling effect on immigrant and mixed-status families seeking healthcare and may play a role in hesitancy accessing COVID-19 vaccinations.
End all forms of separation of migrant parents from their children, an act that is illegal under the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child.
Rescind newly imposed regulations amending Sec. 1557 of the ACA which limit access to healthcare for non-English speakers and LGBTQ individuals and reinstate the 2016 (or 2017) Final Rule for this section.
Prioritize releasing as many individuals detained in prisons, jails, and detention centers as possible, with a focus on those at particular risk of COVID-19 contagion and/or complications while instituting baseline testing at all detention facilities.
- Release children in detention centers in compliance with the Flores agreement and provide the opportunity to remain with their parents or other relatives through alternative to detention programs.
Work to reallocate the $23 billion just authorized by Congress in the 2020-2021 Omnibus bill to the Department of Homeland Security’s immigrant detention and deportation system into programs that provide aid to immigrants during the pandemic such as funding stimulus checks to all families regardless of status, lowering the cost of naturalization by reversing the ill-conceived immigration fee structure that increased naturalization application fees, and reinstating/funding fee waivers that have long been available to qualified low-income LPRs considering citizenship, and addressing USCIS backlogs, including asylum applications.
Terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols and ensure immigrants are provided full access to asylum and refugee protections consistent with federal law and international obligations and rescind the “Third Safe Country” agreements with Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Enact legislation to provide a pathway to lawful permanent resident status to individuals who have resided in the U.S. for long periods of time as recipients of different forms of temporary status, such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Revise upwards the recently lowered levels of asylum caps, to at least recent historic levels, and provide for the free movement of people granted asylum and awaiting the adjudication of their claims.
Provide a more robust system to expand access to prosecutorial discretion and take necessary steps to ensure uniform availability nationwide.
Withdraw National Guard troops from the Southwest border and limit CBP authority to conduct internal immigration enforcement to a designated area along the border.
- Ensure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is allocated adequate resources and staffing levels and require systems reform to address current backlogs and prevent future backlogs of immigration benefit applications, including eliminating the significant backlogs in the U visa and asylum adjudication process.
Reverse the decision made by Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Matter of A-B-, in which the Trump administration attempted to limit the ability of survivors of gang and gender violence to obtain asylum, and establish regulations providing access to asylum for qualifying victims of gender-based and gang-related violence.
Take immediate action to halt the denaturalization apparatus that has been quietly stripping naturalized Americans and their families of citizenship.
- Ensure protections from immigration enforcement for sensitive locations, including schools, hospitals, community health clinics, institutions of worship, and court appearances.
Recommended Executive Orders or Actions
- Automatically extend Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) and underlying status of work-authorized immigrants, including for DACA and TPS holders for at least the original time period granted to the individual.
Immediately grant TPS for Mexican nationals. The COVID-19 crisis in Mexico represents extraordinary and temporary country conditions that make it unsafe to return Mexican nationals.
Reverse efforts to end DACA. Begin implementation of deferred action to undocumented parents under the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) policy, extend DACA to allow relief for more individuals who came to the United States as children, and enact policies to extend deferred action to LGBTQ immigrants without children, in the absence of federal legislation.
Take immediate action to protect communities impacted by the devastation caused by Hurricanes Iota and Eta by directing your State Department to grant TPS re-designation for Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador and include Guatemala in the designation.
Take immediate executive action to halt construction along the Southern border and terminate contracts by activating the clause that allows the government to break any contract and create a commission on Healing and Reparations for border communities and to assess mitigation for ecological damage to the environment, habitat, and sacred native lands.
Reprogram the $1.375 billion for the southern border wall, which was recently appropriated to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to begin repairing fragile ecosystems, desecrated Indigenous sacred sites, and reverse the deadly militarization of the region.
Rescind July 11, 2019 Executive Order on Collecting Information about Citizenship Status in Connection with the Decennial Census.
Rescind July 21, 2020 Presidential Memorandum on Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census.