It seems that Trump’s fight against immigration is finally over as President Biden sweeps in with hopeful promises of a less acrimonious four years.
- In a meeting with LatinX leaders, President Biden outlined his immigration plans, including establishing a 100-day deportation moratorium, extending “Dreamer” (DACA beneficiaries) protections, passing a broad immigration bill that could create a path to citizenship for non-legal immigrants living in the US, and removing barriers for people claiming asylum along the US-Mexico border. However, although Biden’s campaign had many promised immigration shifts, his team has now cited the economy, Senate impeachment trials, and the COVID-19 pandemic as factors that may slow down Biden’s plans. Despite this, President Biden and his team have stated that they will immediately begin undoing the many immigration changes made during the Trump administration. Further, President Biden will use his executive powers to rescind Trump’s travel restrictions and help immigrant advocacy groups reunify migrant families.
- Despite Biden’s desire for immigration reform, Senate Republicans called his comprehensive immigration plan to legalize undocumented migrants in the United States a “nonstarter,” stating that the plan was too broad to pass the Senate. Among these Republicans, two were part of a group who attempted a similar effort in 2013, making their warning a fair one – even if all fifty Democrats support the bill, President Biden would still need at least ten Republicans. However, even if the bill is blocked in the Senate, Biden can still reform the filibuster.
- As an additional smaller, although still significant change, the White House website is once again available in Spanish. President George Bush began this tradition and the President Obama maintained the site, however, the webpage was not available during the Trump administration.
- The COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention facilities, with almost 9,000 cases since its start. Now, with the release of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, people are calling for immigrant vaccinations. Although ICE has promised to vaccinate all detained migrants and is offering the vaccine to facility personnel, they have yet to announce any specifics. Even if the vaccines are offered in ICE centers, some experts are worried that the distrust between detainees and ICE officials could hinder the vaccination process.
- As of Wednesday, January 20, Steven Dillingham, the director of the Census Bureau, has retired from his position. He was set to leave the role by the end of 2021, so many believe that he stepped down due to the publication of a memo alleging Dillingham’s role in a possible census report on undocumented immigrants. Ron Jarmin, the deputy director of the Census Bureau, will fill Dillingham’s role until the Senate approves another candidate.
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