President of Mexico Andres Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO, is urging President Biden to take swift action on immigration, including giving dual nationality to Mexicans working in the United States.
“I hope that today or in the coming days he presents the migration plan,” said AMLO. “What it is going to consist of, how they are going to respect their right to be recognized, that they get dual nationality.”
Although he holds left-wing ideological views, AMLO enjoyed a surprisingly good relationship with Donald Trump. AMLO was one of the last foreign leaders to congratulate Biden on his victory, and the future of U.S.-Mexico relations under the Biden administration remains an open question.
For his part, President Biden has fulfilled his promise to send an immigration bill to Congress on day one. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, about half of whom are from Mexico. Under the proposed legislation, certain individuals, such as those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, would have an immediate pathway to a green card, and could apply for citizenship three years after receiving a green card. Those that did not fall into that category would have an eight year pathway to citizenship.
President Biden also implemented a number of executive orders related to immigration on his first day in office, including one bolstering DACA. The Department of Homeland Security has also announced a hundred day pause on deportations for some undocumented immigrants and is suspending Trump’s controversial “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers.
If the President’s immigration bill is passed by Congress, it will have major benefits for Texas, which is home to 1.6 million undocumented immigrants, 1.4 million citizens with at least one undocumented family member, and 107,000 DACA recipients, according to the American Immigration Council. Immigrants are a vital part of the Lone Star State’s economy, representing 22 percent of the labor force.
Immigration reform has been an elusive goal for many years, with broad consensus that the system needs to be fixed but no consensus on how to do it. Previous bills have died spectacularly in Congress. With Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress, perhaps President Biden can finally break through the gridlock on immigration. It’s critical for Texas’ sake that he does so.
Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images