THE DAILY REFORMER (NEW YORK, UNITED STATES)
(CNSNews.com) – President Joe Biden told a CNN-sponsored town hall Tuesday night that “yes,” he wants a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
But in his long and winding response to illegal immigration, Biden kept the focus on asylum-seekers and refugees, not the hundreds of thousands of people crashing the Southwest border.
“Well, yes,” Biden told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a pathway to citizenship would be essential in any bill that reaches his desk.
“There’s a whole range of things that relate to immigration, including the whole idea how you deal with — what confuses people is, you talk about refugees, you talk about undocumented, you talk about people who are seeking asylum, and you talk about people who are coming from the — that are coming from camps around — that are being held around the world,” Biden said.
“And there are four different criteria for being able to come to the United States. The vast majority of the people, the 11 million undocumented, they’re not Hispanics. They’re people who came on a visa, who was able to buy a ticket to get on a plane, and didn’t go home. They didn’t come across the Rio Grande and swim across — excuse me,” Biden said, as he walked over to Anderson Cooper, violating social distancing.
“Sorry, that’s the Irish in me,” Biden joked, as he backed away.
But, all kidding aside, so — so, there are a lot of things that relate. But I think that we can no longer — look, you have heard — I’m — even if you’re not involved in politics at all, you have probably heard me say this 1,000 times, and matter — that everyone is entitled to be treated with decency, with dignity. Everyone is entitled to that. And we don’t do that now, for the first time in American history.
If you’re seeking asylum, meaning you’re being persecuted, you’re seeking asylum, you can’t do it from the United States. You used to come, have an asylum officer determine whether or not you met the criteria, and send you back if you, in fact — but you can’t even do that. You’ve got to seek asylum from abroad.
Stand-alone refugee bill?
Turning away from the pressing problem of illegal immigration, Biden noted that the United States used to allow 125,000 refugees into the U.S. every year.
It was as high as 250,000. Trump cut it to 5,000,” he said. “Come with me into Sierra Leone. Come with me into parts of Lebanon. Come with me around the world and see people piled up in camps, kids dying, no way out, refugees fleeing from persecution.
We, the United States, used to do our part. We were part of that. We’re — and you know, that’s — send me your huddled masses. Come on.
And so, I would, if you had a refugee bill by itself — I’m not suggesting that, but I would — there’s things that I would deal by itself, but not at the expense of saying, I’m never going to do the other.
There is a reasonable path to citizenship. And it shows up. One of the reasons why we have been able to compete with the rest of the world so well is, most of our major competitors are xenophobic…
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