The First 100 Days: Biden and Harris Promise Amnesty
FAIR Take | January 2021
On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will become the 46th President and 49th Vice President of the United States, respectively. Following the defeat of both Senate Republicans in the Georgia special election, Democrats will control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives for the first time since 2011.
One cannot overstate the impact of a unified government. Democratic control of the White House and both chambers of Congress means that any legislation requires far less collaboration and compromise with the Republican minority. And although the Democrats’ control is razor-thin, it is still control nonetheless.
This brings us to Biden and Harris’ immigration plans.
In a January 8th press conference, Biden confirmed that immigration is one of his first legislative priorities. He said that he will introduce an immigration bill “immediately” and send it to the Democrat-controlled Congress. No bill text is publicly available yet, but we can assume that it will follow closely with what he promised during the campaign.
Biden’s proposal includes an amnesty for all 14.3 million illegal aliens living in the United States and a pause on all deportations for 100 days. He further promised to roll back each and every one of President Trump’s executive actions, memos, and proclamations reforming immigration.
Kamala Harris echoed this sentiment in an interview with Univision where she hinted that the Biden Administration would immediately investigate the possibility of giving green cards to DACA recipients as well as those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – never mind the supposed “temporary” aspect of their legal presence.
There is no question that the Biden-Harris immigration agenda will be a complete 180-degree turn from that of the outgoing Trump Administration. Whereas the Trump Administration prioritized regaining control of illegal immigration, fixing our broken asylum processes, and plugging loopholes that benefit only illegal aliens, the Biden Administration appears to be singularly focused on giving legislative relief to illegal aliens. This is not hyperbolic – they say it themselves, on the record.
With a unified Democratic Congress, there is not much stopping Biden and Harris from ramming through an amnesty along these lines in the first 100 days, particularly if Democrats eliminate the Senate’s filibuster rules which require 60 votes to pass legislation. But the filibuster rule is merely a custom – not a law- and the incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) may find that that in order to pass many of Biden’s big-ticket items, Senate Democrats will need to eliminate the 60-vote threshold.
If they do, then there will be nothing stopping the Biden-Harris immigration plan from becoming the law of the land.