News   /   Politics

US needs to implement comprehensive immigration reform: Journalist

Migrants wait in line to seek asylum after illegally entering the United States in Hidalgo, Texas. (Reuters Photo)

The White House and Congress are divided on the issue of immigration, hampering any attempt at reform and creating a crisis at the southern border, says an American journalist.

Even if the Biden administration was sincerely after immigration reform, it would still face considerable obstacles from Congress and the Judiciary, David Cay Johnston, investigative journalist and author, said in an interview with Press TV’s Spotlight program aired on Wednesday.

The US Supreme Court last Monday temporarily stopped the expiration of Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allowed border officials to turn away asylum seekers over public health concerns. Put in place by the administration of former President Donald Trump at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the policy aimed to prevent the spread of the virus by curbing the flow of immigrants across the borders.

However, health experts, immigrant rights advocates and leading Democrats argue that scientific evidence does not support the policy's stated goal. 

Congress has not taken any serious steps to reform immigration policies and Title 42 was a racist law that was part of a broader "dual policy" in dealing with immigrants in the US, Johnston said.

“Donald Trump who began his campaign for president with a racist tirade against Mexicans calling them murderers and rapists used Title 42 as an effort to stop any immigration, it had nothing to do with the law, it had to do with his racist policies so now you have pent up demand of people who want to come and it is creating a real and serious problem,” he pointed out.

The US government's two-year-old policy of invoking Covid-19 precautions to turn away hundreds of thousands of migrants at the Mexican border will remain in place for now, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The decision to uphold the controversial rule staved off a looming political crisis for President Joe Biden, as thousands of people waited at the southern border in expectation that the policy was about to end.


The Supreme Court said Title 42 would remain in place pending its own ruling on the issue, and that it would hear the case in February.

“The United States has had an issue with immigration dating back 40 years, the last time we had any major efforts to ameliorate the problem was with Ronald Reagan back in 1986 when he granted what many call amnesty to all of the large number of migrants who are currently in the country. Since then America has kicked the can down the road on what's called comprehensive immigration reform,” Robert Patillo, a political activist and attorney, said on the Spotlight.

Washington’s interference in Latin America has also exacerbated the immigration problem in the United States, Patillo said, citing the Trump administration’s effort to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.

Immigration from Venezuela to America has increased since then and now it has become a major problem for the country, he explained.

While the US government had prepared for the end of Title 42 with more staffing and fencing along the southern border, it was not clear how it would have stemmed an expected surge.

Some 2.5 million people were intercepted while trying to cross the border in the 12 months through November.

Two years ago, most of the migrants crossing the border were from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, whereas more than half now come from from Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku