President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil a sweeping immigration plan during his early days in office, which will aim to reverse Trump-era policies – but his proactive approach is garnering pushback from both sides of the aisle.
Biden’s plan is expected to follow campaign promises through a deportation moratorium, providing a multi-year pathway to citizenship and blocking the use of emergency federal funds from being siphoned towards expanding the southern-border wall.
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But Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., took to Twitter to express his frustration in a seven-tweet long thread Monday, claiming Biden will prioritize “amnesty ahead of the pandemic.”
Though Biden has already announced his intention to ask Congress to approve a nearly $2 trillion plan that would allow for direct payments to individuals, vaccine bolstering and community assistance – Cotton said his problems with Biden’s immigration bill are the health and security implications.
The junior senator from Arkansas alleged that Biden will “immediately undo pandemic border closures” and threaten the health security of the United States by allowing migrants to regain entry to the country.
“[I]t’s what you’d expect from the party of open borders: Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
“The lack of testing and controls at the border will mean a massive increase in the spread of the virus,” he continued.
Biden has based several of his first 100 days in office core policies around the deadly pandemic, but Fox News could not reach his transition team to confirm how he plans to address reopening the borders while maintaining control over the virus.
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But even Biden’s immigration plan that Cotton called the “most radical immigration bill in American history,” has received push back from Democrats who want more immediate reforms.
One element of the plan establishes an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people.
But while Cotton said such a policy was unfair to “law-abiding immigrants who followed the rules,” members of Congress like Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, have said they will push for legislation to address fast-tracking citizenship for immigrants who worked on the frontlines during the pandemic with a five-year plan.
“These are people who feed us, clean our homes and hospitals and offices… and they do all this while living in fear of deportation, exploitation and now of this pandemic,” Castro said on a press call Friday, reported by the news website, HuffPost.
The proposal would affect an estimated five million immigrants who have continued to work in industries that do not allow them to work from home, such as farming and meatpacking, the publication reported.
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Other Democrats have expressed concerns that the plan will not push forward a comprehensive agenda, but will try to address different issues of immigration in a “piece mail” approach.
“The administration has a very limited window of opportunity before House members begin running for reelection,” Freshman Representative for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, told Politico. “Every day that passes is a day that the window shuts just an inch more.”
“We’ve got to get it done in one fell swoop,” she added.
Escobar could not be immediately reached by Fox News.
Adam Shaw contributed to this report.