Trump judges will stop Biden if Dems don't move on immigration reform now

Trump judges will stop Biden if Dems don't move on immigration reform now
President Joe Biden

The last four years have been a complete departure from the melting pot metaphor that has made Americans so proud. Avoiding any reference to the historical background of a nation built upon the displacement of its original population, and the historical social debt from years of slavery and segregation, the Trump administration became a safe haven for anti-immigration sentiment. Although it didn't originate within trumpism, it has been significantly mainstreamed by Donald Trump.

The images of children in cages, with the former president referring to shithole countries, wasn't what we remembered from the leading democracy advocate in the world. Reconciling America's past as the shelter for those in desperate need of a home had never been more implausible. This was a shock for many around the world, but not for those that had been warning about the radicalization of the Republican Party. This is not about conservatism anymore; this is a straightforward embrace of nativism in a time when the greatest fear of the still-majoritarian white population is an inevitable demographic shift.

We are not here to displace Americans, we are here to contribute to a better America, with our knowledge, skills and experience. President Joe Biden has made clear that his administration would not only reverse the immigration policies enacted by the previous president, but also introduce further measures to correct the path the country had taken toward immigration. However, this is going to be a complicated shift. On January 26, a U.S. district judge barred this administration from imposing a 100-day deportation halt President Biden had ordered DHS to apply. This is a sign for Democrats that it would be wise for them to exercise their majority. It should be clear now that there is little hope for a bipartisan commitment to an immigration overhaul while the prospects of narrowing their demands are looming.

This should come as no surprise after the change of heart we have seen in some lawmakers, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, once Trump took office in 2017. The South Carolina senator, once a staunch immigration defender, became an ally to one of the most anti-immigration administrations in recent history, supporting Trump's cruel policies. Quite the contrast from the bipartisan bill he introduced in 2016 with Sen. Dick Durban: Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream of Growing Our Economy, as an effort to protect DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals from deportation.

Graham knows immigrants make a significant contribution to the economy. Otherwise, why was he was calling for an immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants back in 2014? President Biden has said Trump's policy record has been detrimental for the economy, emphasizing the impact that "the total annual contribution of foreign-born workers" has on the economy. The U.S. economy benefits from immigrants in a wide range of fields, from agriculture to technology, and there is an increasing need for more college-educated and skilled workers in the near future. In addition to this scenario, there are signs of population growth stagnation, with the lowest levels registered in the last decade since probably 1900.

There is a deep divide between a once-labeled country of immigrants, and a historically dominant population that feels threatened by the increasing diversity that is set to become the majority in the next two decades. These fears go beyond ethnicity. It is also a response to a multicultural environment the majority understands as a displacement not only in terms of race and ethnicity, but also cultural identity and political values.

This points to a failure in making the case for immigration beyond economic utilitarianism. The legacy of Trump's immigration policy is the shutdown of the country to people that don't look like the majority. This does not imply that the current immigration system is any easier to deal with for the desired immigrant. Biden's immigration plan addresses the modernization of the system, a debate that should be at the center of the proposed overhaul and is mostly overlooked. If you think the asylum and refugee processes are hard, the other two possibilities are as difficult if not more. And yes, there aren't that many opportunities for immigrating to the United States.

The argument about the supposed economic anxiety, and the claim that immigrants are stealing American jobs, end up discredited by the demands of farmers and tech companies in need of skilled and professional foreign workers, since they cannot find locals willing to take those jobs. In Florida, for the past few years, teacher and staff shortages have created such a critical scenario, that foreigners like me, have been hired to teach middle school English.

We are not here to displace Americans, we are here to contribute to a better America, with our knowledge, skills and experience. The American dream has been one for those born in this land, and for some of us born abroad. It is a sign of hope that Joe Biden understands this country is a much better version when it opens its doors to those who are willing to work hard to make it possible.

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