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Immigration and President Biden’s Speech to Congress: Good First Steps but More Must Be Done

Biden must take bold executive action to protect immigrants who need urgent help


In response to President Biden’s speech to a joint session to Congress, Nicole Melaku, executive director for the National Partnership for New Americans, released the following statement:


“We applaud the Biden administration’s first steps on immigration, its actions to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine and provide relief, and its proposed infrastructure projects. While early executive actions promptly reversed some of the most harmful policies from the previous administration, the next 100 days will be even more critical to achieving meaningful improvements to our nation’s immigration system. 


We also commend President Biden for naming immigration reform as a key priority for his administration moving forward. Instead of waiting for Republican support in the Senate, the White House and Congressional leadership must show bold, decisive leadership by including a path to citizenship for essential workers, agricultural workers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, among others, in the next infrastructure legislative packages, through reconciliation if necessary. 


At the same time, there are several actions that the Biden administration must take and which do not need congressional action. This includes executive actions to facilitate access to citizenship, increase the number of refugees that the United States resettles, and restore and augment asylum and other humanitarian protections like TPS for Haiti and other countries. Instead of continuing to invest in detaining and deporting Black, Latinx, and other immigrants, we should invest in immigrants and refugees’ potential, opportunities, and integration into the U.S. 


What the nation needs now is bold solutions that are supported by the majority of the population and that invest in our communities and recognize immigrants’ critical, essential place in the U.S.”