Immigration as a Wedge Issue…Again

Mar 18, 2021 | PDA News

In solidarity, Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team

Is There a Crisis at the Border or are Republicans
Just Trying to Change the Subject?


As Republican lawmakers grapple with the popularity of the Biden administration’s largely successful handling of the pandemic (at least relative to the previous administration’s record of indifference and incompetence) and voters’ bipartisan approval of the COVID-19 rescue package just passed, they return to their old playbook of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. In particular, Republicans are suddenly pretending to be shocked and heartbroken by the surge of migrants, especially unaccompanied children, detained at the southern U.S. border. Their present outrage is their latest cynical attempt to change the narrative, move the goalposts, and unify Republican voters in advance of the 2022 midterms.

For the record, this surge happens almost annually. The Trump administration tried to make it Mexico’s problem by refusing entry to the U.S. so that migrant camps and detentions were in another country, by hollowing out the immigration processing infrastructure to slow down application processing, and by draconian deportations.

Even as the Biden administration scrambles to process unaccompanied minors, Congress is taking up two pieces of legislation. The first would provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers (children brought illegally to the U.S. who meet certain requirements) and some holders of Temporary Protected Status, and the second would provide green cards to migrant farm workers and expand visa eligibility. Votes are expected in the House today, where both bills previously passed with bipartisan support.

PDA supports these two bills as small pieces of the comprehensive overhaul of immigration policy introduced in February. They must be passed and signed into law. If Republicans are really concerned about immigration policy, they need to support these bills in the House and the Senate.

Please contact your Senators, voice your support for these initial efforts to tackle comprehensive immigration reform, and let us know how your call went.

At PDA, we work with allies to advance the rights of immigrants, protect DREAMers, and develop humane and comprehensive immigration policy. We must facilitate these first steps toward our goals, and not let Republican obstructionists reframe the narrative. Please support our efforts by contacting your Senators and by making a generous contribution to PDA.