The Congressional Hispanic Caucus urged President Joe Biden on Monday to take a slew of executive actions on immigration as prospects of legislative action appear dim.
CHC members, at an afternoon meeting at the White House and in a letter released afterward, said the Biden administration should designate and re-designate Temporary Protected Status for several Latin American, Central American and Caribbean countries, including Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
That move would grant temporary protections to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants from those countries.
They also said they urged Biden to stand by his promise to end Title 42 border expulsions by May 23, expand access to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and expedite processing within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“The executive orders and actions presented will inspire younger generations to engage with us and the Biden administration, empower them, and send a clear message that they are not forgotten,” CHC Chairman Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., told reporters outside the White House after the meeting.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., also noted the importance of executive actions given Congress not passing immigration legislation.
“As you all know, we have not been able to pass comprehensive immigration reform for over 30 years. Many communities across the country are waiting for that,” Espaillat said.
The push comes as lawmakers appear unlikely to reach agreement on broad immigration legislation ahead of the midterm elections.
Democrats attempted to include sweeping immigration provisions that would legalize millions and cut visa backlogs in their budget reconciliation package last fall, but were stymied by parliamentary issues and divisions within their own caucus.
The CHC letter to the White House detailing the caucus’s demands for executive action also included suggestions on infrastructure, environmental and health care policies they say would help Latino communities.
Other executive actions on immigration the CHC requested include the termination of private prison contracts for immigration detention, the creation of a parole-in-place program for potential beneficiaries of family-based visas living in the U.S., and the removal of “nonpriority matters” in the immigration court system contributing to current backlogs.