NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — As the country begins to emerge from a drawn-out and particularly virulent election cycle, the discussion has turned toward what President Joe Biden will look to accomplish in his first 100 days in office. The campaign office has released “The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants.” This plan outlines the primary goals for Biden’s immigration policy.
By 2021, former President Trump will have reduced legal immigration rates by approximately 49% since taking office in January of 2017. Biden firmly believes that the government has failed immigrants. He has called the Trump administration’s handling of immigration a “moral failing and a national shame.” He believes that Trump-era immigration policies go against the nation’s core values and history as a home to immigrants around the world. He underscores that immigrants are “an irrefutable source of our strength.” Citing the role of foreign-born workers in key sectors of the U.S. economy, Biden’s immigration policy will work to protect national security while building a system that strengthens the economy and protects what he believes are the most “cherished values” of the U.S.
Past Immigration Efforts
Biden headed the development of numerous immigration programs, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He was instrumental in creating a task force focused on integrating newly-naturalized Americans. The Obama-Biden administration also sought an end to workplace raids and all enforcement activities at sensitive locations including hospitals, places of worship and schools.
Biden was part of the widespread effort to provide relief to undocumented immigrants after a proposed comprehensive immigration solution did not pass in the House in 2013. He also led efforts to understand the basic causes of irregular migration from Central America. He believes that, in order to reduce immigration rates, one must address what pushes desperate people to flee their homes in the first place. In addition, he garnered bipartisan support for $750 million in aid for Northern Triangle countries. The aid was used to enact reforms that reduced migration rates.
What’s in Store for the First 100 Days?
While President Biden’s immigration policy plan encompasses the whole of his four years in office, he has stated a particular focus on immigration during his first 100 days. In response to President Trump’s attempted end to DACA, Biden has pledged to make it permanent “by sending a bill to Congress on day one of my Administration.” He has also committed to an immediate reversal of the so-called “Muslim-ban” on those coming from Muslim-majority countries.
In addition to sending humanitarian resources to the border, Biden wants to reverse policies of separation. In response to President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy of family separation, Biden has said that he wants to “prioritize the reunification of any children still separated from their families.” He also seeks to improve the accountability standards, oversight and training of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Biden aims to achieve this by having the heads of these agencies report directly to the President.
Furthermore, Biden wants to issue a moratorium on deportations during the first one hundred days. He hopes to make access to the U.S. easier for asylum seekers and refugees by reversing President Trump’s asylum granting restrictions as soon as possible. The Biden Administration would also funnel more resources for efficient asylum application processing.
100 Days and Beyond
Since his 2016 campaign, President Trump has made building a wall to secure U.S. borders a priority. As President, he declared building the border wall as a national emergency, thereby committing Department of Defense funds towards construction. Biden wants to end all border wall efforts and redirect the Department of Defense’s funds elsewhere.
Biden’s immigration policy hopes to provide a “road map to citizenship” for those who have entered the U.S. illegally. Moreover, Biden hopes to change the naturalization process for immigrants and qualified green card holders by eliminating application fees and other hurdles.
Biden views immigration as an engine for “innovation and entrepreneurship.” He plans to “forcefully pursue policies” that will expand U.S. immigration throughout his four years in office. As President Biden undoes and changes many of the previous administration’s immigration policies, many refugees and asylum seekers are paying close attention to the Biden administration’s next move.