The US Congress has been at a standstill
The CHC, a caucus governed by the House of Representatives, has recently announced its priorities for this session of Congress. AFP

NEW YORK CITY - The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Immigration Task Force announced on Thursday their priorities and immigration principles as the second session of the 118th Congress gears up. Immigration reform, allocation of funds and border safety are among the primary wishes that the caucus will focus on for this session.

Led by Reps. Nanette Barragan, Adriano Espaillat and Rob Menendez, the task force seeks to provide leadership with regard to immigration and border issues within Congress. The recently announced principles are set to guide the work of the CHC in the following months.

"Our broken immigration system has long been inconsistent with our American values and interests," CHC Immigration Task Force Co-Chair Rob Menendez said. "I am honored to release the CHC's Immigration Principles which provide a framework for reforms that would restore compassion and order to our immigration system."

Four frameworks were provided as the guiding principles for the task force: Immigration Reform, Jobs and the Economy, Border Safety Issues and Regional Migration Concerns.

From protection to DACA recipients to the allocation of $10 billion for Shelter and Services programs and the redesignation of Temporary Protected Status for immigrants, the announced Immigration Principles offers a comprehensive view at what might be the leading topics of discussion as Congress reconvenes.

The wishlist also includes increased protection to farmworkers, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the funding of family reunification programs, goals that have been historically in the radar of the caucus for years now.

"We will continue to fight for fair and humane immigration policies" Rep. Menendez said in a statement.

The CHC addresses national and international issues and crafts policies that impact the Hispanic community. They are governed by the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Historically, the Democratic party has looked to the CHC for immigration policy input. However, as border negotiations increase in salience in Congress, the Caucus has been excluded from the conversation, which have reportedly involved the fortification of the border and the curtailing of asylum.

As immigration becomes a major issue for the upcoming 2024 presidential election, politicians in Capitol Hill scrape to stabilize the influx of immigrants coming from the Mexican border.

President Biden, who was elected in 2020 on a more lenient and welcoming platform for immigrants, has now pivoted to a tougher message regarding the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a statement Friday and again at a campaign event in South Carolina on Saturday, Biden said that with the bipartisan Senate deal in hand, he would "shut down" the border immediately. The pledge likely refers to expelling asylum-seekers, rather than screening them for asylum, after a certain number of daily or monthly encounters.

But as pictures of immigrants crossing the border dominate the news and politicians keep debating on how to regulate the situation, CHC keeps its traditional stance.

"The CHC is making clear our support of immigrants and reaffirming our actions to ensure our nation remains a beacon of hope and freedom for families now and future generations," Rep. Adriano Espaillat said in a statement.

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