(Headline USA) Even as illegal immigration surges and deportations plummet, some on the left are calling for a new idea that would bring a flood of illegal immigrants into the country.
The Biden administration has reportedly been advised by liberal immigration advocates to issue executive action to bring deported immigrants back into the country.
With President Joe Biden in office, one of the new proposals from advocates urges creating a centralized Department of Homeland Security office to consider requests from deported immigrants trying to reunite with their families in the U.S.
“We have deported hundreds of thousands of individuals, and to do that and not even have an effective safety valve to review bad decisions violates due process,” said Nayna Gupta, associate director of policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Washington-based nonprofit that proposed the idea.
It’s a long shot: White House officials have never publicly mentioned the idea, and it doesn’t yet have a supporter in Congress. The campaign, however, shows how immigrant advocacy has become emboldened after four years hardline immigration policies under former President Donald Trump.
It also shows how varied ambitions are among pro-immigrant advocates.
Many are focused instead on immigration bills that have passed the House but appear stalled in the Senate as large numbers of unaccompanied children crossing the border have weakened the White House’s position. The measures would give legal status to DACA recipients like Lopez, more farmworkers and others with special protections.
Another bill Biden proposed to offer a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally includes some provisions for a chance for deportees to come back to the U.S. But the Biden administration has not spoken publicly or answered questions about the possibility of regularly considering those requests.
More than 700,000 immigrants have been deported from the U.S. in the last three fiscal years, according to federal data. U.S. law includes ways for deportees to return, but they rarely succeed.
The National Immigrant Justice Center says Congress doesn’t need to act on their proposal and that creation of a centralized process to review applications could be done through executive action because it is based on existing laws.
The plan asks the government to take into account factors like people who were eligible for legal status and had applied before being deported or those who have compelling circumstances.
The proposal has been shared with White House staff, the group said. It plans to invite Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to discuss the proposal and include a letter signed by 75 immigrants’ rights organizations supporting the plan.
A White House spokesperson referred questions about the proposal to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not immediately respond.
Advocates point to how the government has started reunifying families that the Trump administration separated at the border under its “zero tolerance” policy.
“In the process of doing that, hopefully the various agencies involved recognize that this is something that can be done, that we have processes in place, such as humanitarian parole, to bring people back,” said Alina Das, co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.