No documents? Hoping for legalization? Be wary of Joe Biden.
By Nolan Rappaport

Democrats have rejected the deportation provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and decided for themselves who should be deported; moreover, they have proclaimed that people who disagree and want the INA provisions to be enforced are racists.

The deportation grounds in the INA were passed by our elected representatives in Congress and executed by previous presidents — including Democrats. Are they racists too, or does that just apply to people who want the deportation grounds they passed to be enforced?

Broken immigration system

The Democrats justify the refusal to comply with the INA’s enforcement provisions by claiming thatthe immigration system is brokenand cannot be fixed with enforcement measures.

Joe Biden’s “Plan For Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants” indicates that he intends to follow the approach that the Obama-Biden administration took, which was to prioritize enforcement resources on removing deportable aliens who are threats to national security and public safety.

In fact, he intends to go even further.

At the March 15, 2020, Democratic primary debate, Biden said, “…in the first 100 days of my administration, no one, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.”

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), feels the same way. When asked on the second night of the June 2019 Democratic debates if an undocumented alien should be deported if his only offense is not having lawful status, her response was, “I will say, no, absolutely not. They should not be deported.”

The impact of this policy

It has been more than 30 years since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), which was the last immigration reform bill with a legalization program.

IRCA was supposed to give lawful status to undocumented immigrants who were already living in the United States in return for enforcement measures that were expected to greatly reduce illegal immigration going forward.

Approximately 2.7 million people were legalized, but the enforcement measures were never implemented. By the beginning of 1997, the 2.7 million legalized aliens had been replaced entirely by a new group of undocumented aliens.

Consequently, many Republicans want assurance now that promised enforcement measures will be implemented before they will agree to another immigration reform bill with a legalization program.

This won’t be possible until the Democrats change their position on enforcing the deportation provisions in the INA.


Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1 or at