President Joe Biden.
This morning USA Today released my new position paper on the Biden administration’s impressively expansive agenda for immigration. Here is an excerpt:
The new Biden administration has the largest immigration agenda of any president in decades. After Donald Trump – the president against immigrants in modern times – it was inevitable that a democratic successor would change course. The scope of Biden’s agenda, however, goes well beyond simply reversing Trump’s more egregious policies. If fully implemented, this would have tremendous benefits for potential migrants and current US citizens.
It is particularly noteworthy that Biden is pursuing this agenda amid the COVID pandemic. Historically, economic crises tend to encourage nativism. The last year has been a rare exception as the public’s attitudes have become more and more supportive of immigration.
Biden’s otherwise admirable policy has two drawbacks: strong reliance on executive action and his proposal for a $ 15 minimum wage that would exclude many new immigrants from the job market….
Some of Biden’s initiatives are ending Trump’s policies, such as the lifting of anti-Muslim “travel bans” that prohibit the entry of residents of many nations with large Muslim populations.
All in all, Biden’s agenda would expand legal immigration to hundreds of thousands of people a year and allow many millions of undocumented migrants to already get out of the shadows (as Barack Obama put it) and live normally, fully into our economy and society integrated. These changes would change the lives of large numbers of migrants fleeing poverty and oppression.
The Biden policy would bring great benefits to American society. Bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows would increase their productivity and facilitate assimilation. Increasing employment visas and other migrations would further increase immigrant contributions to the American economy. Immigrants make a disproportionate contribution by setting up new businesses at higher rates than locals. and to make important contributions to scientific and other innovations….
A major weakness of Biden’s immigration agenda is its heavy – though sometimes inevitable – reliance on executive action. What one president does with one “pen and phone” can often easily be undone by the next, as Biden himself does with many Trump initiatives. Some of the new guidelines can be legally challenged. For example, the 100-day moratorium on deportations has been temporarily blocked by a federal court.
Unfortunately, Biden’s laudable immigration initiatives could also be undermined by his proposal for a statewide minimum wage of $ 15. If it did come into force, it would drive millions of workers out of the labor market, making it unprofitable for employers to hire them, and having a disproportionately negative impact on the youngest immigrants. This would both reduce the ability of migrant workers to contribute to the economy and hinder their assimilation and social mobility. Hopefully Congress will reject this idea.