The Hispanic caucus was divided between anger and lukewarm reception of Biden’s new border plan

The Hispanic caucus was divided between anger and lukewarm reception of Biden’s new border plan

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The Biden administration’s plan to crack down on the border in exchange for some expanded legal entry options for migrants was generally greeted lukewarmly by Hispanic Democrats, though some in the group were outraged that they favored the development of policies that cause many concerns , have been marginalized too close to Trump-era immigration efforts.

The Biden administration announced Thursday it would expand Title 42 restrictions that allow them to turn away asylum-seekers, coupled with a pledge to admit about 30,000 Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans and Haitians to the United States through a separate program to let.

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), in her first major statement as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), praised the government’s expanded legal avenues but expressed disappointment at the expansion of Title 42 at the border.

“As a nation of immigrants, we need a humane, efficient, and professional immigration system that reflects our American values,” Barragán said.

“The Congressional Hispanic Caucus applauds the administration’s efforts to expand legal avenues for refugees and asylum-seekers, but is disappointed by the expansion of the failed Trump-era Title 42 policy that denied asylum-seekers their right to a proper asylum for far too long.” refused to proceed.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a former CHC chairman, released his own statement later on Friday, strongly condemning the government’s plans, which ran counter to Barragán’s careful balance.

“I am deeply disappointed to see the Biden administration extending failed Trump-era immigration policies that are exacerbating chaos and irregular migration on the southern border,” Castro said.

Castro said he “appreciates” the government’s expanded legal path, but “willfully sidestepped the transit ban and probation requirements, ignoring the realities confronting asylum seekers.”

“Rather than make concessions to the same reactionaries who have opposed immigration reform for decades, the Biden administration should work with Congress to develop intelligent immigration policies that meet our nation’s economic needs, uphold our core values, and address the root causes of the… Migration is concerned,” said Castro.

And the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) meddled with Mayorkas after a call for policy.

CPC Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and CPC Immigration Task Force Chair Jesús García (D-Ill.) – also a CHC member – issued their own statement, using a more forceful tone than Barragán , but less combative than Castro.

Jayapal and García urged President Biden to “reconsider this proposal,” while praising his expanded legal avenues.

However, the new Department of Homeland Security proposal also includes expanding the use of Title 42, a public health law weaponized by Donald Trump to deny legal rights to asylum seekers, as well as potential provisions that would limit the legal right to seek asylum. This is unacceptable,” Jayapal and García wrote.

Barragán’s statement came a day after CHC members met with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the Capitol, in what became a heated briefing on the new policy.

At the meeting, two CHC members, Sens. Bob Menendez (DN.J.) and Ben Ray Luján (DN.M.), grilled Mayorkas and urged the secretary to say why they were not consulted during the planning process of the new policy.

Menendez, in particular, was “pretty enlightened” when he invaded Mayorkas, according to several people in the room, and Luján “let him” because of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) failure to include CHC contributions in the planning.

Menendez went so far as to cite a campaign promise Biden made to Mayorkas when the then-Democratic nominee ripped off then-President Trump over his proposal for “safe third-country deals.”

Biden’s new immigration proposal mimics Trump’s push by penalizing migrants who move from their current location by denying them the right to asylum.

Mayorkas officials on Friday did not respond to a question about why the administration had not consulted its allies in Congress.

One CHC member complained that the new policy “breathes new life” into Title 42.

“People are upset that a Democratic government would expand the policies that Stephen Miller instituted under Donald Trump. There are some good things about what is being proposed: allowing people to apply for asylum if they have a sponsor and giving work permits. But there is one major downside, which is the expansion of Title 42. Title 42 is set to be wound up and that seems to give it new life,” the member said.

But the senators’ anger was not shared by everyone in the assembly.

While Barragán shared concerns from other CHC members about elements of the policy, including that it is essentially a thinly-veiled transit ban, she said speaking with Mayorkas was “constructive.”

Other members, including the two senators who delivered a sharply critical statement Thursday alongside Sens. Cory Booker (DN.J.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), were much less generous about the meeting.

Still, Barragán added in her statement that members “have made it clear that the CHC must be consulted on all border and immigration-related policies.”

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (DN.Y.), a vice chair of the CHC, said he shares his colleagues’ concerns about the plan, but praised Mayorkas as the DHS chief who has “strong empathy and more support than anyone.” in that position previously him for immigrants.”

Still, Espaillat said the government and other stakeholders are overlooking the core problem that has caused the migrant crisis, a “crisis of democracy in America.”

“The real problem here is what is happening in America? Why are these people leaving their families and coming here? What are the compelling reasons that force women to take their children with them and walk thousands of miles, risking their lives to get to America?” said Espaillat.

“If that is not addressed, it will be very difficult. … I understand that’s not going to happen overnight, but we have to start addressing these issues and I don’t think we have.”

The differing attitudes reflect divisions within the CHC, where some members see immigration as the key issue for U.S. Hispanics, while others see it as an old issue that has lost political clout to issues like the economy, education, and the environment.

And the political reality of border security is perceived differently by members representing border counties, particularly in Texas, that often bear disproportionate costs at times of increased migration.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), a top immigrant rights advocate who has at times clashed with the Democratic leadership on immigration, recognized the different political realities facing some of his peers.

“I know some people on the border, their communities are bearing much of the brunt of this refugee crisis. And so they’re looking for some solutions, so they might be more open to those solutions than others,” Correa told The Hill.

Still, Correa hit the heart of the Biden administration’s plan — an expansion of Title 42 deportations — and found that the core imperative of border policy is no longer working.

“[Title] 42 shouldn’t even be part of the immigration debate because it’s a health issue, not an immigration weapon,” Correa said, alluding to the rationale originally given for Title 42 that it would be used to prevent the coronavirus from spreading crosses the south border.

Other CHC members noted that government promises to open up new routes for migrants may not materialize.

For example, one member noted that promises to aggressively expand the refugee program had been made before with poor results.

“Look at what happened with the refugee situation, where they propose a number of 125,000 refugees but actually only accepted a small number. So for me it doesn’t really matter what your number is in principle – what is your number in practice? So if you set that number and say 30,000 a month, that’s the number that can come in, yes, but how many are you actually going to allow?” They said.

However, administration officials are already touting the program’s early success.

Two advocacy groups are calling on Colorado to bar Trump from voting on Democrats’ pan-Biden border plan in the Senate

Deputy Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols said Friday that thousands have already signed up for the program, just a day after it was announced.

“Thousands of people have already applied and a day has passed. The application is free. There’s no cost — this is in contrast to people paying migrant smugglers, polleros, coyotes, you can use any term you like, thousands of dollars for a risky trip with no guarantee of entry into the United States,” Nichols said in a Wilson Center conference to preview Biden’s trip to Mexico City on Sunday.

“I think the policy announced by the President will provide a legal route to about 30,000 people a month from countries with significant demand and will discourage people from risking their lives through dangerous travel,” Nichols added.

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