When the new administration takes over, expect to see immediate immigration policy reversals. President-Elect, Biden has promised to eliminate the most harmful immigration policies and programs within the first 100 days. Biden has outlined an ambitious strategy. Unfortunately, with the way the Trump administration structured and implemented its policies, the new administration will likely have a tough time making good on all of its promises.
It’s difficult to say whether it was intentional, but Trump crafted his immigration policy changes, so they would be difficult to undo. He initiated the first changes within days of his 2017 inauguration. On January 25, 2017, he signed the executive order titled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” an action that authorized the border wall. Over the next four years, he implemented 400 immigration-related actions. With each change, he achieved dramatic policy shifts that would likely have been less extreme had he required congressional support.
The Migration Policy Institute’s report, Dismantling and Reconstructing the U.S. Immigration System, describes how Trump managed to lock in his changes so effectively. He “layered” his immigration policies, working with HUD, Medicare, Medicaid, USDA, Social Security Administration, and other agencies to create rules that reinforced his policy modifications.
Trump’s actions now affect border enforcement, asylum, refugee, and humanitarian systems and programs; Justice Department and immigration courts, citizenship and visa processing, pandemic response, and more. He built a system of immigration policies that is so complex that it will take more than a single administration to undo them.
Biden’s First 100 Days
President-Elect Biden is committed to taking “…urgent action to undo Trump’s damage…” He’s made commitments to change immigration policies during a time when the country still needs a more compassionate response to pandemic-related losses. These two issues alone will make the administration’s first 100 days particularly challenging.
The Biden campaign’s immigration position statement outlines his commitment to change. It reminds Americans that we are a country of immigrants and goes into detail about what he hopes to accomplish. As president-elect, Biden has an ambitious immigration policy to-do list. Here are a few of the changes you can expect from the administration during the first 100 days.
Immediately end border child separation policies
Biden wants to stop current border enforcement strategies that separate children from their parents. He believes that charging parents with minor immigration violations is an intimidation strategy, and he will stop it.
End prolonged detention
Biden will end the cruel child detention system that’s kept young children from their families for extended periods. He will take steps to reunite families that remain separated. He will also reinstate the case management system where non-profits assist immigrants in navigating the court system and meeting their legal commitments.
End restrictive asylum policies
Biden believes that the existing asylum restrictions are detrimental to asylum-seekers. He plans to restore prior asylum laws and eliminate punitive misdemeanor criminal charges against them. He wants to change Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols. MPP rules often deny asylum-seekers entry into the country. Those seeking asylum because of gang violence, domestic violence, and LGBTQ persecution are particularly vulnerable.
End mismanagement of the asylum system
The president-elect wants to stop the prior administration’s “metering” policy as it promotes border violence. Metering limits the number of asylum seekers and forces them to wait in Mexico, where they are often exploited, extorted, or assaulted.
End Trump’s national emergency
Biden wants to end what he calls the “so-called national emergency.” Trump’s emergency declaration allowed him to divert Department of Defense resources to fund border wall construction. The move took funds away from military schooling programs. It also restricted Puerto Rican recovery efforts.
Implement policies to protect “Dreamers”
Biden plans to immediately reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Under DACA guidelines, children brought to America illegally were allowed to remain in the country through a series of two-year deferments. Trump terminated DACA on September 5, 2017. Since then, the program has been at the center of multiple legal battles. Legal challenges will likely continue once Biden reinstates the program.
Rescind the Muslim travel ban
Biden believes that the systematic ban of Muslim travelers causes more harm than good. He believes that the ban hurts the economy and betrays American values. He further believes that the ban can serve as a powerful terrorist recruiting tool. The Muslim ban primarily targets black and brown travelers, which adds an additional level of government-sanctioned discrimination. There is no available intelligence that proves the ban improves security.
Contact an Immigration Attorney
When the Biden administration takes office, immigration, asylum, and detention policies and programs will change rapidly. If you have a pending immigration issue, you should consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible. When immigration policy reversals take effect, an immigration attorney can advise you on taking advantage of less restrictive rules.
Contact us right away to schedule a consultation to discuss your immigration case.