Former Vice President Biden’s proposed immigration policy stands in stark contrast with that of the Trump administration. Certainly, Biden’s record during the Obama administration was much friendlier and had reasonable policies. Progress was made, including the institution of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provided work permits and travel documents to over 600,000 undocumented immigrants.
In the first 100 days, a Biden Administration promises it will:
- Reverse the Trump Administration’s controversial policies at the border with Mexico, including the separation of parents and children at the border. Biden’s plan also promises it will work to reunify any children who have already been separated from their parents. Also, more general funding for border agencies will lead to better conditions for all individuals.
- Revamp asylum policies, including reversing the Trump administration’s additional restrictions on anyone traveling through Mexico or Guatemala; attempting to prevent victims of gang and domestic violence from receiving asylum; systematically prosecuting adult asylum seekers for misdemeanor illegal entry; and severely limiting the ability of members of the LGBTQ community, an especially vulnerable group in many parts of the world, from qualifying for asylum as members of a “particular social group.”
- End the “metering” policy for asylum applications, which limits the number of asylum applications accepted each day.
- Shorten detention and enable migrants to live in dignity and safety while awaiting their court hearings–”facilitating things like doctor visits, social services, and school enrollment for children.”
- Reverse Trump’s public charge rule, which we have written about extensively. This would enable immigrants to benefit from public services they need without fear that doing so will negatively impact their immigration status.
- Put a stop to using taxpayer funds to build a border wall with Mexico.
- Propose legislation to protect the DACA program and all the DREAMers who have benefitted from it. The Obama-Biden Administration created DACA in 2012 to protect “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, obeyed the law once here, and stayed in school or enlisted in the military.
- Rescind the Trump Administration’s anti-Muslim immigration travel bans.
- Restore more sensible enforcement priorities, including not targeting people who have never been convicted of a serious criminal offense and who are active participants in the American economy.
- Convene a meeting of leaders from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Canada, to work on the larger issues that affect immigration on the American continent.
As you can see, this proposal is pretty much everything an immigration advocate can ask for. It remains to be seen how much of it Biden would actually be able to pass, which will largely depend on which party gains control over Congress.