Biden discusses immigration issues with congressional Hispanic caucus

President Biden and his top aides had a 90-minute meeting with seven leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Monday afternoon, during which the president said his administration would pursue the end of Title 42 – the related measure to COVID used to quickly expel migrants from the border. According to some of the members present at the meeting, he said he would need their help in explaining and defending the administration’s immigration policy in public and in upcoming budget and legislative debates.

But the meeting was underway as a federal judge temporarily blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from end pandemic era politics as currently scheduled, May 23. Caucus members were unsure what this court order would mean for the administration’s plans.

Attendees at the Biden administration meeting included top advisers and officials Cedric Richmond, Susan Rice, Louisa Terrell, Julie Rodriguez and Cristobal Alex, as well as Office of Management and Budget Director Shalonda Young. Among the CHC members present were Representatives Raul Ruiz, Nanette Barragan, Adriano Espaillat and Darren Soto.

CHC members said they were pleased to see the president call for at least doubling the family reunification work budget of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS currently has a staggering backlog of 4 million people awaiting processing.

US-POLITICS-CHC
Congressional Hispanic Caucus: (L-R) Representatives Darren Soto, Pete Aguilar, Tony Cardenas, Raul Ruiz, Adriano Espaillat, Nanette Diaz Barragan and Teresa Leger Fernandez, after meeting with President Biden at the White House, April 25, 2022.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images


Notably, members left the meeting thinking the president will sign an executive order extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for another five years — a top caucus priority. DACA provides undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children with protection from deportation and work permits, both of which are renewable.

And the president and his team have signaled their openness to further executive action to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to people from Honduras, Nicaragua, among others, who have not been redesignated in several years.

Mr. Biden also told Hispanic lawmakers that he was considering different options to forgive most, if not all, of the student debt of those with federally guaranteed loans.

CHC members said infrastructure, environmental justice and other immigration issues were also discussed.

The Biden administration will hold more meetings with Congress in the coming days. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas plans to brief some lawmakers on Tuesday, while Terrell, the White House director of legislative affairs, is expected to meet with Senate Democratic chiefs of staff and other senior politicians to discuss of immigration policy.

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