Is the Biden Administration’s Immigration Policy All That Different from His Predecessor?

Joseph MacKenna
Staff Writer

The Biden administration’s immigration policy has come under fire in its first 100 days over the president’s lack of movement on reverting former President Trump’s highly controversial immigration policies. The administration has started rolling back some Trump-era policies, but the pace at which President Biden is acting has failed to live up to the expectations promised from the campaign. The Biden-Harris campaign site listed ambitious goals for the first 100 days in office, stating objectives such as overturning the “Muslim Ban,” strengthening the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and ending construction on the border wall, but their ability to achieve these goals is justifiably coming under scrutiny.

Now, as of 92 days in, Biden has signed six executive orders on immigration, checking off some of his more prominent campaign promises. According to the White House, one of these executive orders temporarily paused all emergency funding and construction of the border wall. Since then, however, the administration has failed to take the necessary next steps, including withdrawing lawsuits over private land where the wall would be built. The Washington Post outlines how the Cavazos family lost six acres of land after a judge ruled on an eminent domain case. This case represents the differences between Biden on the campaign trail and President Biden. With no further action from the president since the end of the 60 days period for reviewing the wall, Biden has left the American populous wondering if he will permanently halt the border wall construction at all. 

President Biden notably pledged during his campaign to reunite families separated at the border. To date, there has been a severe lack of change made to address the border crisis. Axios reports that as of April 7, no families have been reunited. This news comes after Biden created a reunification task force in February to reunite families who have been kept apart. President Biden now needs to come up with a plan for the families currently separated in the United States, especially after an increase by 71 percent of migrant interactions in March compared to February, according to USA Today

A recent surge of migrant activity at the border has seen families with children still being expelled under Title 42. This controversial policy, a product of the Trump administration, allows the CDC to block entry into the U.S. to those from “coronavirus impacted areas” under the pretense of protecting the American people. As a result of this policy, 530,000 individuals were immediately turned away at the border over one year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In February, President Biden promised to overturn the Trump-era capacity limit of 15,000 refugees. However, in mid-April, he once again delayed overturning the capacity limit and faced immediate backlash. As reported by CNBC, this resulted in President Biden committing to raising the cap to 62,500 refugees by May 15. 

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that Biden’s immigration policy has had the least support from constituents compared to other focus areas such as healthcare, the pandemic, and the economy. Polling from AP-NORC shows that 56 percent of constituents disapprove of how President Biden has handled immigration. Additionally, 40 percent disapprove of his handling of unaccompanied children, with only 24 percent of respondents approving. 

President Biden’s proposal from January and his rhetoric during his first 100 days highlight a change in pace for immigration reform. However, the lack of deliverables coming out of Congress and the White House for immigrants leads to concern over when American citizens will see President Biden follow through on his promises. Immigration reform is a difficult topic historically for Presidents and Congress alike. Over the past 20 years, the most progressive immigration reform that has been enacted has been DACA under President Obama. While this policy has helped individuals who arrived in the U.S. as children, a large-scale overhaul of our immigration system needs to happen for long-term progress.

 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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