Joe Biden holds West Wing meeting with six illegal immigrants as US faces biggest migrant surge in decades

JOE Biden met six immigrants who benefited from an Obama-era policy that protected those brought to the U.S. illegally as children. 

The president, who is facing the worst migrant crisis at the southern border in decades, held the meeting as he revives awarding citizenship to younger immigrants nicknamed "Dreamers".

The Customs and Border Protection had over 178,000 migrant encounters in April 2021, the highest total in a month in two decades.

Last month 20 undocumented migrants including two minors were found hiding under the boards of a trailer.

But despite the shocking surge of illegal migrants crossin the sothern border, Biden is pressing ahead with an immigration bill that is set to pave the way for 2.5million undocumented migrants to gain US citizenship.

The American Dream and Promise Act, which was passed 228-197 with nine Republican votes in March, is a key priority for his administration but comes amid a shocking surge in migrants and unaccompanied minors.

Maria Praeli, one of the immigrants who participated in the meeting, said she and others spoke candidly to Biden about their concerns and about worries that their fates could be upended by a Texas court decision if Congress doesn't act.

Our lives have been in limbo for far too long

She said: “Our lives have been in limbo for far too long.”

She was brought to the U.S. from Peru when she was five and is now government relations manager at the immigrant advocacy group

Immigration has been largely left on the back burner while Biden has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic and pushed for legislative action on a massive infrastructure package.

The immigrants invited to Friday's Oval Office meeting have used the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DECA) program instituted in 2012 to legalize their residency. 

Biden renewed his call for Congress to codify DACA and to approve longer-shot legislation that would establish a pathway to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, an effort that faces tough odds in a closely divided Congress.

The White House in a statement said Biden reiterated to the group his commitment to immigration reform. 

He noted his support for legislation that's passed the Democratic-controlled House to enshrine the DACA program in law and for a separate bill intended to help migrant farm workers attain lawful status and better working conditions.

Ahead of the meeting, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against the notion that immigration has slid as a priority.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March that his agency was issuing a rule to preserve and fortify DACA.

But the policy faces a Texas court challenge that could invalidate the protections established under Obama. Former President Donald Trump tried to phase out the program. 


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that Trump could end it but that he did so improperly.

Biden has made clear that passing legislation enshrining DACA should be the floor for action on immigration.

Speaking at his address to Congress last month, Biden said:”If you don't like my plan, let's at least pass what we all agree on.”

Congress needs to pass legislation this year to finally secure protection for Dreamers, but there has been little sign of progress on Capitol Hill.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas two veterans of immigration debates appears to have hit a stalemate.

This is despite weeks of private meetings.

A more narrow House-passed measure focused on DACA and another bill to revamp rules for farm workers has almost zero chance of passage in the Senate.

The news also comes as over 50 people were seen crossing the border through Del Rio, Texas.

Smugglers would supposedly transport children through the river in the morning when the current is low.

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