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Key sectors of the U.S. economy, from agriculture to technology, rely on immigration. Working-age immigrants keep our economy growing, our communities thriving, and country moving forward.

The challenges we face will not be solved by a constitutionally dubious “national emergency” to build a wall, by separating families, or by denying asylum to people fleeing persecution and violence. Addressing the Trump-created humanitarian crisis at our border, bringing our nation together, reasserting our core values, and reforming our immigration system will require real leadership and real solutions. Biden is prepared on day one to deliver both.

As president, Biden will forcefully pursue policies that safeguard our security, provide a fair and just system that helps to grow and enhance our economy, and secure our cherished values. He will:

The Biden Commitment to a Fair and Humane Immigration System

Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers. 

The Obama-Biden Administration strongly supported the bipartisan comprehensive immigration solution that passed the Senate in 2013 and which would have put our country’s immigration policies on a much stronger footing. When the Republican House refused to even bring that bill to a vote, the Administration took action to fundamentally change the course of our nation’s immigration policies, offering relief and stability to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who contribute to our communities every single day. 

As Vice President, Biden championed the creation and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program; the Central American Minors program, which allowed parents with legal status in the U.S. to apply to bring their children up from Central America to live with them; and the creation of a White House task force to support new Americans and help them integrate into their new homes and communities. 

In a departure from their predecessors, the Obama-Biden administration took steps to prioritize enforcement resources on removing threats to national security and public safety, not families. It also issued guidance designed to end mass work-place raids and to prevent enforcement activities at sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, and places of worship. 

Critically, the Obama-Biden administration recognized that irregular migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Central America cannot be effectively addressed if solutions only focus on our southern border. The better answer lies in addressing the root causes that push desperate people to flee their homes in the first place: violence and insecurity, lack of economic opportunity, and corrupt governance. As Vice President, Biden spearheaded the administration’s efforts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras–bringing high-level attention to these issues and securing bipartisan support for a $750 million aid package to help the Northern Triangle countries implement critical, concrete reforms. These efforts were beginning to deliver results and reduce migration rates until Trump froze the majority of the funding, began his campaign to terrorize immigrants and assault the dignity of the Latino community, and created the current humanitarian crisis at our border with his irresponsible and inhumane policies. 

As president, Biden will finish the work of building a fair and humane immigration system–restoring the progress Trump has cruelly undone and taking it further. He will secure our border, while ensuring the dignity of migrants and upholding their legal right to seek asylum. He will enforce our laws without targeting communities, violating due process, or tearing apart families. He will ensure our values are squarely at the center of our immigration and enforcement policies. 

Take Urgent Action to Undo Trump’s Damage and Reclaim America’s Values

The next president will need to take urgent action to end the Trump Administration’s draconian policies, grounded in fear and racism rather than fact, work to heal the wounds inflicted on immigrant communities, and restore America’s moral leadership. As president, Biden will move immediately to ensure that the U.S. meets its responsibilities as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. 

In the first 100 days, a Biden Administration will:

Modernize America’s Immigration System 

As president, Biden will commit significant political capital to finally deliver legislative immigration reform to ensure that the U.S. remains open and welcoming to people from every part of the world–and to bring hardworking people who have enriched our communities and our country, in some cases for decades, out of the shadows. This is not just of concern to Latino communities, this touches families of every heritage and background. Biden will immediately begin working with Congress to modernize our system, with a priority on keeping families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants; growing our economy and expanding economic opportunity across the country by improving and increasing opportunities for legal immigration; and preserve the longstanding directive of our immigration system to reunite families and enhance our diversity. 

Immigrants are essential to the strength of our country and the U.S. economy. When immigrants choose to come to the U.S., they bring their unique traditions and contributions to the rich cultural tapestry of our country. They are also a key driver of economic growth. Currently, we are not taking advantage of America’s ability to attract the best and brightest workers in the world. A modern immigration system must allow our economy to grow, while protecting the rights, wages, and working conditions of all workers, and holding employers accountable if they don’t play by the rules. Immigrant rights and worker rights are deeply connected. We must ensure that every worker is protected, can join a union, and can exercise their labor rights–regardless of immigration status–for the safety of all workers. 

Joe Biden will work with Congress to pass legislation that:

Welcome Immigrants in our Communities

Immigrants bring tremendous economic, cultural, and social value to their new communities. Even in cities hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, immigrants are a key driver of entrepreneurship and population growth. 

According to a 2017 report by the New American Economy, from 2000 to 2015, of all population growth in the Great Lakes region — over 1.5 million people — which helped offset the impacts of population decline in cities like Syracuse and Akron. Immigrants are bringing new life to local economies–starting businesses, paying taxes, and spending their dollars back into their new communities. The Center for American Progress has estimated that DACA recipients will contribute about over the next decade. The U.S. needs to retain the talents and drive of American-raised Dreamers to secure those benefits for our own economic health.

It’s time for the federal government to listen and learn from local municipalities across the country that have built vibrant and inclusive communities and economies by developing concrete policy and program recommendations at the grassroots level to provide opportunities for new immigrants. 

As president, Biden will: 

Reassert America’s Commitment to Asylum-Seekers and Refugees 

The Trump Administration’s policies have created a humanitarian disaster at our border and grossly mismanaged the unprecedented resources Congress has allocated for it. Trump has diverted money to terrorize immigrant families, even as CBP facilities at the border are overwhelmed. After almost three years, this Administration still doesn’t have a coherent plan for the protection and processing of children and families. CBP officers in the field, who are neither trained nor equipped for this work, are shouldering outsized responsibility for managing this crisis. And through his Migrant Protection Protocol policies, Trump has effectively closed our country to asylum seekers, forcing them instead to choose between waiting in dangerous situations, vulnerable to exploitation by cartels and other bad actors, or taking a risk to try crossing between the ports of entry. In other words, Trump’s policies are actually encouraging people to cross irregularly, rather than applying in a legal, safe, and orderly manner at the ports. 

As president, Biden will:

Tackle the Root Causes of Migration

The worst place to deal with irregular migration is at our own border. Rather than working in a cooperative manner with countries in the region to manage the crisis, Trump’s erratic, enforcement-only approach is making things worse. The best way to solve this challenge is to address the underlying violence, instability, and lack of opportunity that is compelling people to leave their homes in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in the first place. As Vice President, Biden was the architect of a major program of U.S. assistance to advance reforms in Central America and address the key factors driving migration. 

As president, Biden will pursue a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the security and prosperity of Central America in partnership with the people of the region that

Implement Effective Border Screening

Like every nation, the U.S. has a right and a duty to secure our borders and protect our people against threats. But we know that immigrants and immigrant communities are not a threat to our security, and the government should never use xenophobia or fear tactics to scare voters for political gain. It’s irresponsible and un-American. Building a wall from sea-to-shining-sea is not a serious policy solution–it’s a waste of money, and it diverts critical resources away from the real threats. Today, illicit drugs are most likely to be smuggled through one of the legal U.S. ports of entry. They are hidden among commercial cargo in semi-trucks or in a hidden compartment of a passenger vehicle. A wall is not a serious deterrent for sophisticated criminal organizations that employ border tunnels, semi-submersible vessels, and aerial technology to overcome physical barriers at the border–. We need smart, sensible policies that will actually strengthen our ability to catch these real threats by improving screening procedures at our legal ports of entry and investing in new technology. The border between Mexico and the U.S. shouldn’t be treated like a war zone; it should be a place where effective governance and cooperation between our two countries helps our communities thrive and grow together–facilitating commerce and connection, and fueling the exchange of cultures and ideas. 

As president, Biden will:

Read Joe’s Plan to Build Security and Prosperity in Partnership with the People of Central America >>