For four long and hard years, the Trump administration has reshaped the United States immigration system through anti-immigrant executive action, proclamations, policy memos, and regulatory changes. The good news is that President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris can undo almost every change through the same mechanisms without having to go through the legislative branch. The bad news is that the newly elected administration must have the will to do so at the pace far greater than the previous administration.
In no particularly order and certainly in no way exclusive, these are our priorities for the incoming Biden administration:
Dismantling the Muslim Ban, and other travel bans that are needlessly separating Americans from their loved ones abroad
Issuing a moratorium on deportations
Restoring Temporary Protected Status programs and Deferred Enforced Departure for El Salvador, Nepal Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan and others rescinded by the prior administration, with an eye towards extending the use of TPS during this pandemic to more countries that are severely impacted by this disaster
Reuniting and ending the detention of hundreds of parents and children heartlessly separated by the prior administration
Reinstating DACA, and expanding deferred action policies during this pandemic
Raising the refugee ceiling and restoring the refugee resettlement programs
There are hundreds of other actions that the incoming administration can take to reverse the nefarious polices of the prior administration cataloged here.
The biggest challenge for Biden will not just be the sheer number of changes that he has to undo but also to move us forward in reshaping immigration in a way that works for America. From the lack of mention of immigration on the Biden Team’s transition website, it is highly unlikely that this administration is going to do anything without community organizers forcing their hand.
Photo Credit: Janice Marie Foote