Joe Biden Faces Long Uphill Battle To Reform Immigration After Four Years Of Trump

The president-elect has announced he has a vision for America’s immigration policies that lead with compassion.

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Between the constant talks of building a multi-billion dollar border wall and families being separated from their kids who are then kept in cages, the last four years have been a major nightmare for immigrants all throughout the US. However, the harsh reality is a lot of the immigration policies that the country has in place that Trump was able to use as an excuse to send these individuals into these detention centers, existed long before his presidency. 

Donald Trump, however, is personally responsible for more than 400 immigration-related executive actions that will take time, effort, and a lot of bipartisan support to reverse. Sarah Pierce is a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute who recently spoke on the struggle the Biden administration will face in the coming 4-8 years with immigration alone. 

“They’re just gonna have too much else on their plate, there’s no way that a Biden administration will be able to get through and undo all of those changes in four years, and maybe not even eight.” She’s not incorrect either, as most of us have seen Trump’s four years in office have been a reign of terror for most immigrants in America. Even legally documented individuals have experienced a whole slew of racist rhetoric and labeling after the president consistently stereotyped immigrants to be “criminals, drug dealers, rapists, and the worst of the worst.” Joe Biden, however, has been adamant within his campaigning that this type of violent and harmful attitude will come to an end with his presidency.   

“Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants. It’s wrong, and it stops with Joe Biden being elected president.”

Throughout the past four years high level officials working within Trump’s administration have pushed to indefinitely detain children, separate them from their parents, turn away potential residents in certain neighborhoods based on socioeconomic status, and deny foreigners a proper day in court to make their fight to become a citizen even harder. This was all fueled by the harmful rhetoric and language that came from Trump and his team. 

One of the most famous examples being when Trump reportedly referenced individuals coming here from Haiti, El Salvador and some African Nations and asked “why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?” Regardless of the evidence of whether or not he made these comments or not it’s safe to say that the administration simply didn’t care, because this was the attitude a lot of Americans began showing. 

As the Democrats regain the Oval Office this January with president-elect Joe Biden, Americans are breathing a sigh of relief that maybe there’s some hope for the future of all immigrants in this country, and that the harmful separation of families and small children will come to an end. One of the initial policies his administration mentioned while campaigning is the creation of a task-force to reunite 545 children that are still separated from their parents due to disgusting and cruel mismanagement at the US-Mexico border. 

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“Immigration is essential to who we are as a nation. Under a Biden Administration, we will never turn our backs on who we are or that which makes us uniquely and proudly American.”

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Biden also claimed that he will be putting an immediate end to Trump’s travel ban, which sparked a huge wave of Islamophobia and bigotry in the nation as the only countries that Trump chose to ban were strictly Muslim-majority countries. Biden also promised to reinstate all the legal safeguards that “Dreamers” were stripped of under the current administration. Dreamers are undocumented individuals who came to the US as children with their parents; aka against their own free will, therefore legal protections regarding their citizenship should be maintained.

Biden also plans to get rid of a bunch of restrictions Trump instituted this year that worked to restrict immigrants from getting work or family-based visas. According to Pierce policies such as these and other more surface level executive orders will be easy to reverse. “There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that they can do quickly without ensuring that a lot of logistical changes are in place ahead of time. Reversing those will be quite easy.”

Biden will also do away with Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy that forced migrants to remain stranded in Mexico while they waited for their US immigration court hearings (which many rarely did). One of the biggest concerns, however, regarding immigration and this transition of power regards the 68,000 individuals who have already been subjected to the harsh treatments of these policies. Because of this harmful policy, migrants have been forced to find shelter in dangerous border cities, leading many to be subjected to kidnapping, torture, assault, rape, and murder. There have been over 1,100 issues of migrants who have experienced some sort of trauma while waiting for their case to be brought to court. 

With a Republican controlled Senate it’s to be expected that Biden will run into a multitude of roadblocks when trying to enact his new policies, however, the president-elect has already claimed to have a ton of executive orders that he will be implementing within his first 100 days in office; including a large-scale immigration reform bill that will help carve out a pathway for citizenship for over 10.5 million undocumented immigrants in the US.