By Jessica Easthope
Ilse Mendez came to Laredo, Texas with her parents at the age of 2. She’s now 33. Everyone in her family — including her four children — are now U.S. citizens, except her.
Ilse is one of the hundreds of thousands of people known as “dreamers.” President Joe Biden is proposing a pathway to citizenship for these immigrants who have been able to live in the U.S. because of the program known as DACA.
“We’ve lived four years of Trump basically stringing us along with that fear and anxiety. So, I’m hopeful that something positive will come out of these different legislations or these executive actions that Biden has brought,” said Ilse.
On other issues, Biden will face legal challenges. The president issued a 100-day pause on deportations but a federal judge has temporarily blocked that move. And there are still about 28,000 migrants sitting in Mexican border towns waiting to seek asylum through the controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Advocates have pushed for these migrants to be allowed into the country while their cases are handled in immigration courts. Former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Ronald Vitiello warns that Biden’s immigration policies could create another surge of migrants at the southern border.
“My warning is: learn from the history we already have. When you roll back those elements of what’s in place now, then you’re going to, you’re going to encourage people,” he said.
The Biden Administration is also encouraging all people, regardless of immigration status, to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It says federal immigration agencies will not be conducting enforcement operations at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.