Vice President Joe Biden during his visit to Ireland in 2016. RollingNews.ie file photo.
By Ray O'Hanlon
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged himself to the pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform if he is elected the nation's 46th president.
The promise of action on an issue that has bedeviled successive administrations, and has prompted vigorous opposition from the current one, is contained in a statement outlining a range of policies sourced in Irish American concerns released over the weekend by the Biden/Harris campaign.
The statement covers Northern Ireland and other matters as well as immigration.
On immigration, the statement says that a President Biden would "prioritize legislation to create a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people who have strengthened our country for years and preserve the longstanding directive of our immigration system to reunite families and enhance our diversity."
With specific reference to the plight of the undocumented Irish the statement adds that Vice President Biden "has shown immigration reform leadership informed by empathy and an understanding of Ireland's experience - especially the challenges of today's younger Irish who left Ireland during the Eurozone crash."
Biden's words on immigration dovetail with his party's 2020 Platform on the issue which states in part: "Democrats believe it is long past time to provide a roadmap to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers, caregivers, students, and children who are an essential part of our economy and of the fabric of our nation.
"We will fast-track this process for those workers who have been essential to the pandemic response and recovery efforts, including health care workers, farmworkers, and others. We will also eliminate unfair barriers to naturalization, reduce application backlogs, and make our immigration processes faster, more efficient, and less costly. These reforms will strengthen our communities, our families, our economy, and our country."
While any Biden action will hinge on the outcome of the upcoming elections, his words on immigration reform will be the first hopeful ones for thousands of undocumented Irish in some years.
The full Democratic Platform statement on immigration, as well as the Republican equivalent, will be carried in this week's print edition of the Echo.