President Biden Must Ensure Immigration Reform Does Not Attract More Illegal Immigration

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Migrants from Haiti, Cuba and several African nations arrive to Capurgana to try to cross illegally to Panama at the Caribbean Gulf of Uraba, northwestern Colombia, on February 4, 2021 as they continue their journey to US. (Photo by RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images)

By Felicia J. Persaud

News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Feb. 5, 2021: President Joe Biden this week signed three new executive orders on immigration, including ordering a review of Donald Trump’s immigration policies that curtailed asylum, slowed legal immigration into the US, and cancelled funding to foreign countries.

The orders came as some 8,000 people from Honduras had set out to reach the US as part of a so-called migrant caravan. Luckily, many were largely dispersed in Guatemala as they clashed with the military there. It also comes as migrants from Haiti, Cuba and several African nations arrived in Capurgana to try to cross illegally to Panama at the Caribbean Gulf of Uraba, northwestern Colombia, on February 4, 2021 to make it to the US.

There is no denying the situation in Honduras after the hurricanes of November is dire as it is in many countries in the world. Poverty is rampant in many countries in Central, South and Latin America, made worse by the pandemic and crime.

Many view getting to the US much like winning the jackpot. Most are confident that with Donald Trump gone, President Biden will be the answer to their prayers.

Once they can get to the US border, they feel, they will be let in. This as Biden is already reversing and rolling back several Trump-era policies, including freezing construction of the border wall and revoking the policy to separate migrant families crossing the border.

But the reality in 2021 in the United States of America, in the midst of a pandemic, is bleak, and President Biden was elected to be President of the United States of America.  The unemployment number in this country currently is estimated at about 10.7 million. Jobless claims totaled 847,000 for the week ending Jan. 28th as those receiving unemployment benefits totaled18.28 million. Millions, including children, are facing food insecurity in the good ole’ USA and thousands are losing their homes or facing evictions.

The service sector, which employs many immigrants in the U.S., including hotels, bars, restaurants and casinos, has been hit very hard. In January alone, the industry lost 498,000 workers.

As President Biden pushes another much needed economic relief package, to help pandemic hit Americans, while simultaneously trying to push an immigration reform agenda post Donald Trump, his focus cannot be on letting more new immigrants into the country at this time in history.

His focus must instead be on ensuring a path to legalization for the 11 plus million undocumented immigrants already living in the country, especially the so-called DREAMERS. Many already are working and have been paying taxes. They are already part of the fabric of the United States.

More than 60 percent have resided in the country for more than a decade, and they have more than four million U.S.-born children. They also account for 5 percent of the work force, representing the backbone of the agriculture, construction and hospitality sectors.

However, any path to legalization should also include one that includes payment of fines for overstaying or entering the country illegally.  This will help brings millions out of the shadows, overcoming that security risk while also ensuring these new legal residents pay their taxes and paying into the Social Security administration.

This is not the time for new asylees, refugees or the importation of new foreign workers. There are a number of loopholes in the current immigration law that can also be changed to ensure we limit new immigration while giving legalization to those that have earned it through years of paying their dues as upstanding Americans.

The 7 congresswomen who are charged with pushing Biden’s bill through the Congress would do well to remember this if the bill is to win bipartisan support and make it through the Senate and be signed into law.

This is a harsh but necessary reality we must face and support. We simply cannot continue with an open border policy at this juncture in our history.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow