Joe Biden’s Immigration Plan, Explained

Joe Biden released an immigration plan on Wednesday that focuses on undoing President Donald Trump’s policies while acknowledging critiques of his Obama-era record on the issue.

Biden, a frontrunner in the Democratic primary, has positioned himself as former President Barack Obama’s natural successor. His plan touts his record as vice president, including his support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Obama’s plan to give temporary protection to unauthorized immigrants brought to the US as children.

Biden has struggled to answer questions in several recent debates about Obama’s more controversial policies on immigration enforcement, which included record-high levels of deportations and were often criticized by activists.

But in his plan, Biden begins to outline ways to make the existing immigration enforcement system more humane.

“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,” his campaign said.

Biden is one of the last candidates to release an immigration plan. (The only candidate participating in the December debates who has yet to release one is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.)

He doesn’t back some of the more progressive policies that have been proposed or embraced by other candidates: decriminalizing the act of crossing the border without authorization, placing a temporary moratorium on deportations, or redesigning the agencies in charge of immigration enforcement.

But it’s significant that Biden has chosen to highlight the fear and insecurity in immigrant communities that started with the deportations that occurred under the Bush administration, became more widespread under Obama and has escalated under Trump. It suggests that he would not simply revert to the status quo on immigration enforcement under Obama — even if his immigration plan attempts to revive some of the former president’s policies.

By Nicole Narea for V O X
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