Biden Considers Expanding Illegal Migrant Amnesty

Pivoting away from recent rumors that he might tighten border controls through executive action, Joe Biden is reportedly considering a plan to expand amnesty for illegal immigrants, according to sources cited this week by Politico. This proposal would potentially transform the legal status of thousands who have resided in the United States for over a decade without official authorization.

The administration’s proposal would enable migrants who have been in the country for more than ten years and who have family members who would “suffer from their deportation” to apply for a green card through the cancellation of the removal program. This initiative, first reported by the Daily Mail and detailed in a September 2023 document by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), marks a significant shift in U.S. immigration policy. It echoes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced during the Obama administration but expands its scope.

As the plan unfolds, Biden’s administration has hinted at bolstering support for states and cities overwhelmed by the influx of undocumented immigrants, including major urban centers like Denver and New York City. Despite these measures, Biden’s previous attempts to tighten asylum claims at the border have been met with skepticism, with critics arguing they do little to stem the flow of migrants.

The backdrop to this controversial proposal is a border crisis described by many as unprecedented. Since Biden took office, the number of migrants illegally crossing into the U.S. has surged, setting records each year. Over 7.4 million apprehensions have been reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, alongside a concerning number of individuals on the U.S. terror watchlists being caught at the border. This situation has prompted a strong reaction from Congressional Republicans, who accuse the Biden administration of incentivizing illegal crossings by reversing Trump-era immigration policies.

Republican critics, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), argue that such policy reversals have encouraged more illegal crossings and put a strain on local law enforcement and border security efforts. In an interview with the New York Post in Eagle Pass, Texas, earlier this week, she said expanding the green card handouts will only incentivize larger numbers of illegal crossings.

“Talking to the local law enforcement in the area, they talk about the danger of incentivizing these crossings. They talk about how the border crossings picked up after Joe Biden was inaugurated. And one of the sheriffs said it’s like people got on their journey and started coming this direction and they waited for Biden to go into office and then they started crossing and the numbers have not leveled off since 2021,” she said.

These sentiments were echoed during a visit to the US-Mexico border by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who lamented the rapid dismantling of progress at the southern border under Biden’s leadership. In January, Johnson said he was told by a Texas sheriff that “it took less than six months for the Biden administration to dismantle 100 years of progress that the US Border Patrol had achieved.”