Washington — Despite the record influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and a shortage of workers in the United States, experts believe immigration policy will remain unchanged after the midterm elections. Some experts say that if Republicans take control of Congress, President Joe Biden likely will turn to the administrative process to accomplish any immigration changes.
Republicans have a “very clear” position on immigration, Neeraj Kaushal, a social policy professor at Columbia University, told VOA. “They want to restrict immigration,” said Kaushal, who is also an expert and researcher on immigration policy.
Democrats, on the other hand, are less focused when it comes to immigration policy, she said.
“They have the support of many liberals who are for immigration, who want to treat immigrants at the border in a humanitarian manner … who want to strengthen the asylum system,” she said, but Democrats are “afraid that Republicans will use any policy that they have to show to the public that they are creating open borders.”
Biden came into office committed to passing immigration reform. On his first day in office, he unveiled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, sweeping immigration bill that included an eight-year path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., a plan to clear employment-based visa backlogs, and a program to prevent dependents of employment-based visa holders from “aging out” of the system, among other changes.
But the legislation stalled in Congress and is largely viewed as dead.
Tevi Troy, a senior fellow of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s presidential leadership initiative, a Washington think tank that promotes bipartisanship solutions in immigration and other areas, said during an event Monday that if the makeup of Congress changes, it is likely Biden will turn to such options as executive orders for any immigration policy changes.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, is an example of an administrative action. It was created under the Obama administration to temporarily protect from deportation hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and has benefitted more than 800,000 people. Biden revised it in an effort to help it survive legal challenges. Yet it remains on shaky ground as Republican-led states continue to fight in federal courts to end the program.