Folks - Over the next several months, people will try to gaslight you on who immigrants are and what immigration means for America. Don't fall for it. I had a remarkably honest, vulnerable convo with a Team Biden leader on the matter. Here's a recap, in less than 400 words.
The U.S. is an aging population with low fertility rates. The country would benefit from far more immigration, not less. It’s an economic need, not just a human rights imperative.
That’s according to a chief architect of Biden’s new immigration plan. Team Biden gave me their first in-depth US interview on immigration. I spent more than an hour with Cecilia Muñoz, talking economics, racism and unconscious bias in newsrooms, and Obama’s legacy (is it fair to call him Deporter-in-chief?). Listen on Vox Conversations.
“If it were possible to design the immigration system that most meets our economic needs, leaving aside what some might think of as more sentimental questions, that system would be way, way, way more generous than what we have now — by a lot,” Muñoz says. “Our politics are what they are.”
She acknowledges that Republicans and Democrats (her party) are both guilty of building an enforcement mechanism that is “out of balance.” She notes in particular the reforms passed under Bill Clinton, which were “all about penalizing immigrants.” Muñoz goes so far as to say, “those terrible policies [were] incredibly hurtful and didn't accomplish anything affirmative.”
Biden is attempting to make a hard break with that past. His team hopes that the excesses of the Trump era motivate lawmakers to pass a bill. There’s widespread agreement that the system is broken. “If Congress had done its job and fixed the system, we might not have had a Donald Trump presidency,” she says.
A sweeping reform may be politically unrealistic. Muñoz says it’s “entirely within the realm of possibility” that a standalone DREAM Act would pass. The majority of Americans (as in, 74%) believe that legal status should be granted to undocumented youth, who number over 1 million according to Pew. Muñoz believes Biden would be open to that partial yet substantial fix.
Muñoz has repeatedly been on TV forums or in news articles, having to debate spokespeople from groups like FAIR, an organization with ties to white supremacy. She says to newsrooms, “you're not just invoking fairness when you put [that] person's perspective opposite mine in a debate. It's not two sides of the issue. You are giving a platform to people who are racist.”
Again, full interview here: