Of the numerous executive orders that President Biden has signed since taking office, six are immigration-related. It could hit Georgia from the courts to the farms.
ATLANTA – Among the numerous executive orders President Joe Biden has signed since taking office, six are immigration-related.
Some of them focus on reversing the immigration policies set by the Trump administration. Biden also sent a new immigration law to Congress.
For some immigrants living in Georgia, this is a step in the right direction.
“It’s such a relief,” said Yehimi Cambron. “It feels like I can breathe again. Like my community has a chance to fight.”
According to the American Immigration Council, Cambron is one of the 20,000 DACA recipients in Georgia.
That number could rise now after President Biden signed an executive order to resume the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which protects undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.
The former art teacher said that not only does the signed papers make a difference, but also the tone and wording used by the administration.
- Lifting of the travel ban from countries with a Muslim majority
- Extension of deportations for Liberians
- Reversal of an order that excluded undocumented immigrants from the census
- Break while building the border wall
- Stop the expansion of “tough and extreme immigration enforcement”
In addition, Biden proposed a bill that would give 11 million undocumented immigrants a route to citizenship in the United States
If passed, those without legal status in the United States could be granted a green card in five years and the option of citizenship three years after that.
Immigration advocates said it was a long time coming.
“We were hoping it would happen,” said executive director of the Latino Community Fund Gigi Pedraza. “We were also very careful not to break our hearts again.”
According to the American Immigration Council, Georgia had more than 1.1 million immigrants in 2018.
“One of [Georgia’s] Agriculture is the most important industry so paying special attention to the farm workers already in the country and providing a pathway will affect hundreds if not thousands of families in South Georgia, “added Pedraza.
The bill, whose main sponsor is Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, would take 60 votes to get through the Senate. With Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie breaker, Menendez said he must bring at least nine Republicans to agree to this.
“This is a team effort and a call for Congress to pass legislation that will give over 700,000 people an avenue to citizenship … which is pretty important,” said Pedraza.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a memo on Wednesday setting strict rules for the arrest and deportation of immigrants and a 100-day hiatus for some deportations.
“It makes it more convenient for people to call the police, as the cancellation of 287 (g) at Gwinnett and Cobb is big news,” said immigration attorney Sarah Owings.
Owings, who provides immigration services in Atlanta, said this means we could see changes in the judicial system.
According to her, the number of cases before the immigration court more than tripled at the start of the Trump administration compared to the end.
“The Georgia immigration court backlog in 2016 was 13,955, the number we had in that backlog at the end of the fiscal year,” Owings said. “Now there are up to 45,389 cases by the end of the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2021.”
She said these numbers do not reflect the new people coming to Georgia as immigration to the country has been declining for years.
“But the fact that we are starting this process against people here in our courts also reflects the fact that we have a large incarcerated population and far more prisons than this administration ends than we started with.”
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