Immigration will be a key issue for the 2024 election – if the Republicans have their way – in order to deflect and drown out the war on women and reproductive health rights and the strong Biden economy (Bidenomics!). Therefore, they have no interest in addressing the border crisis reasonably and every reason to exacerbate the crisis.
From his first day in office, President Joe Biden proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and worked to address the desperation that causes millions of people to uproot their lives, leave family and home, and make the perilous, even deadly journey, to the U.S.
Biden is not the cause of this latest migration wave,which is also being experienced in Europe and the Mideast, fueling similar anti-immigrant fascist movements.
Republicans have rejected Biden’s funding requests to bolster border security, add border control agents and increase the number of immigration judges so that asylum claims can be more promptly adjudicated.
The number you don’t hear: Biden has expelled 2 million who did not meet the criteria for asylum.
Of the 3.1 million who attempted to cross into the United States from the southern border in 2023, 2.5 million were “encountered” by border agents, 562,000 were immediately expelled under Title 42, 185,000 were immediately deported, 180,000 voluntarily departed, 300,000 from Venezuela and Nicaragua were given humanitarian “parole”; 600,000 made it through undetected and undocumented, The New York Times reported.
In all, of the nearly 2 million who were processed under Title 8 in 2023, only 2,700 were granted asylum or a path to permanent residency. Not undocumented. Not illegal. Hardly the free-for-all “open borders” the Republicans are charging. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2024/01/09/opinion/immigration-in-one-chart.html)
While Biden has agreed to compromise and the Senate is coming up with a bipartisan bill, House Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to consider anything but their HR2 cruelty, more interested in political theater and images of invading hoards so useful for fear mongering.
It is why Trump, who found his racist tirades against Mexicans and Muslims so productive in 2016, now demeans migrants as “vermin” “poisoning the blood of our nation” and promises to use the army in the biggest deportation project in history and renew the Muslim ban.
It is why Texas Gov. Greg Abbott dumps them in northern cities and suburbs, puts razor wire in the Rio Grande and says the only reason Texas isn’t shooting migrants is the Feds would charge it with murder.
It is why Gov. Ron DeSantis is using Florida taxpayer money to charter airplanes to traffic migrants not from Florida but from Texas to blue states. (New York is now suing the bus charter companies that traffic humans across state lines, without any notification or coordination.)
Immigration is “complicated” but mainly politically. It seems obvious that there needs to be more funding for border agents, technology, immigration judges and social workers, better, bigger facilities to house people until processed, but most importantly, the ability and the will to send people where they are wanted – involving coordination and planning. More support is needed for computerized systems such as New York State has instituted to match migrants with jobs – in essence, a high-tech version of what the wave of immigrants, who built the railroads, roads, skyscrapers and manned the mines and factories, experienced in the early 20th century.
In fact, a report by the Immigration Research Initiative and the Ellis Island Initiative, found that for every 1,000 migrants who arrive on Long Island, about $3 million is paid in local tax revenue – with that number increasing to $4 million within five years, Newsday reported. (https://www.newsday.com/long-island/asylum-seekers-migrants-long-island-report-economy-qz99kzbw)
The immigration issue affects our region, economically and socially certainly, but this is a national problem that requires Congress to act.
We know how former Congressman Tom Suozzi feels about immigration reform and that he has thoroughly studied the issue – he has advocated for reasonable, bipartisan compromise to achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the past – in fact, partnered with Republican Long Island Congressman Peter King in 2019 on a plan.
And, now that he is seeking to return to Congress in the Feb. 13 special election, he has detailed his position again, addressing the 5 million still undocumented immigrants and the 600,000 children protected under Obama’s DACA program (who Trump vows to round up and deport). (See: Viewpoint: Suozzi-King plan for immigration reform is spot on and long overdue, https://theisland360.com/promoted/viewpoint-suozzi-king-plan-for-immigration-reform-is-spot-on-and-long-overdue/)
“The national emergency is not on the border but in the nation’s capital – a failure of leadership in Washington. It’s been almost 40 years, back to 1986, since we had comprehensive immigration reform,” Suozzi, told a press conference and in letters to the president and House leaders. “It’s getting worse and worse. People in my district and throughout country are angry about the immigration crisis. It’s a complicated issue, but I know that only way to solve complicated problems is by working across party lines.”
He went on to say: “It will require bipartisan compromise that secures border that gives Republicans what they want, and what Democrats want, whether more judges, border patrol, physical barriers, radar tech, secure border and to get to the root causes that drives people in the Northern Triangle to flee in record numbers.”
In contrast, we don’t have a clue what or if the Republican candidate Mazi Pilip thinks about immigration––herself an immigrant first welcomed as an Ethiopian Jew to become an Israeli citizen and then easily obtaining U.S. citizenship (her husband is a Ukrainian- American who studied in Israel).
Will she support shutting down government in order to extract untenable, inhumane (even illegal) and frankly anti-American immigration policies, including closing the border? Will she support blocking aid to Israel and Ukraine unless Biden complies with the Republicans’ cruel policies? She did not respond to our query.
But we do have a very good idea of how she will vote, based on how she performed in the Nassau County Legislature: however she is told to by the Republican leadership.