Biden Must Reckon With Obama-Era Immigration Mistakes

For the latter, he needs Congress — and a game plan for fighting the conservative disinformation campaign that Mr. Miller and his nativist allies are likely to launch. They can’t afford to forget the lessons of the so-called Gang of Eight bill, which died in the House in 2014 amid an onslaught of falsehoods casting immigrants as welfare-guzzling criminals.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, plans to introduce a resolution for comprehensive immigration reform that demonstrates how to change the narrative from the top, rejecting the quid pro quo framing of previous immigration reform efforts in which immigrant protections come in exchange for increased border militarization.

The resolution seeks to dismantle the U.S. deportation machine and decriminalize immigration offenses, creating instead “scalable civil consequences,” such as fines and community service. It aims to end incentives for local police to work with federal immigration officers. (About 70 percent of ICE arrests occur after contact with local police officers or state prisons). “Our intent is really to disentangle the criminal justice and immigration systems,” Ms. Jayapal said in an interview.

Mr. Biden has said he doesn’t believe that the police should turn immigrants over to ICE to be deported. But his plan doesn’t mention banning ICE detainers or discouraging police cooperation with ICE. He should throw his support behind Ms. Jayapal’s resolution, co-sponsored by her Democratic colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Yvette Clarke of New York, Jesús García of Illinois, Judy Chu of California and Veronica Escobar of Texas.

It provides a path to reunification for any separated families, regardless of who separated them — because it is driven by respect for human rights rather than by political considerations. “We wanted to be broad and inclusive when we talk about family separations now that people understand how detrimental the consequences are, whether you’re separated at the border or in the interior,” Ms. Jayapal said.

Ms. Quiej fantasizes about reuniting with her husband at the airport, watching the joy on her children’s faces as they run up to him and hug him. If the priorities in Ms. Jayapal’s resolution are adopted, deportation would no longer be the consequence for minor offenses like Mr. Jiménez’s.

Jean Guerrero (@jeanguerre), an investigative journalist, is the author of the book “Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: [email protected].

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.