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Republicans, Latino advocates on Biden immigration shift

By Thomson Reuters Jun 18, 2024 | 2:57 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new program Tuesday that would provide a path to citizenship to some 500,000 people who have been in the country for a decade or more, and are married to United States citizens.

The election-year announcement was quickly denounced by his Republican opponent Donald Trump. It was heralded by pro-immigration groups and Democratic members of Congress.

Here are some reactions:

CAMPAIGN STATEMENT FOR DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

“Biden only cares about one thing — power — and that’s why he is giving mass amnesty and citizenship to hundreds of thousands of illegals who he knows will ultimately vote for him and the Open Border Democrat Party…Biden has created another invitation for illegal immigration through his mass amnesty order.”

MIKE JOHNSON, REPUBLICAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

“Just two weeks ago, the president pretended to crack down on the open-border catastrophe by engaging an election-year border charade. Now he’s trying to play both sides and is granting amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. The president may think our homeland security is some kind of game that he can try to use for political points, but Americans know this amnesty plan will only incentivize more illegal immigration and endanger Americans.”

DOMINGO GARCIA, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS

“We applaud the Biden administration for offering a pathway to legality for many families that have been separated and torn due to the lack of immigration reform.”

“Many of these Dreamers are now adults that have been educated in our universities, formed families and live in America. They are American. I am hopeful today because they will be able to continue to attain the American dream by having working visas that allow them to continue their contributions to our country.”

FATIMA GOSS GRAVES, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL WOMEN’S LAW CENTER

“We are very excited about today’s executive action taken by President Biden, which will protect families from being torn apart, provide them with work authorization and access to a pathway to citizenship. Undocumented immigrants are the backbone of this country’s infrastructure, including providing vital care for children and aging and disabled people, yet many of them remain at risk of deportation.”

“This is an important step in fixing our broken immigration system. That said, we continue to be disappointed that the administration signed an executive order a few weeks ago that made harmful changes to the asylum process, and we urge the administration to reverse course on those changes without delay.”

DELIA C. RAMIREZ, DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE FROM ILLINOIS AND WIFE OF A DACA RECIPIENT

“Since coming to office in 2023, I have consistently called for executive and congressional action to protect Dreamers and to provide relief to long-term undocumented immigrants across the nation. As the only member of Congress in a mixed-status family, the work to keep families and communities together is deeply personal.”

“Today, President Biden proved he could be the president we elected by providing relief to thousands of mixed-status families, like mine, and Dreamers, like my husband Boris Hernandez. While many of us hoped that the action would be more expansive, today’s action is the most significant positive policy change for immigrants and their families since the DACA program in 2012. It would not have been possible without the advocates who have relentlessly fought to realize this moment. Now, we must build upon this historic win and provide urgent relief to the broader immigrant community, protect asylum, deliver work permits for all, and expand pathways to citizenship.”

RICK SCOTT, REPUBLICAN U.S. SENATOR FROM FLORIDA

“It’s wrong.”

“I’m from an immigration state. We like immigration. But it ought to be legal immigration. These are people who came here illegally, so they should not have a pathway to citizenship. There should be no amnesty. But this is exactly what he’s doing. He’s allowing all these people in here illegally. He’s allowing drugs to come across border, criminals coming in, and then he wants to give a path to citizenship and it’s wrong.”

APRIL VERRETT, PRESIDENT, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION

“As the union representing the largest number of immigrant workers, SEIU applauds President Biden’s executive action to provide work permits for undocumented immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens and shield them from deportation, as well as their children. Due to technicalities in our broken immigration system, these individuals have been prevented from working legally, and their families have been forced to live in constant fear of being separated. Today’s action will not only bring tremendous relief to their families, but will help build a stronger, more prosperous and more equitable nation.”

(Reporting by David Morgan, Kanishka Singh, and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)