By: Seth Morer
President Joe Biden took office on January 20th, 2021 and has already begun to reshape America’s immigration policy. Over the last two months, the new Commander-in-Chief ordered an overhaul of our immigration system. He has issued eight separate Executive Orders on immigration, and in early February, along with House Democrats, he issued a full legislative proposal. We all expected that Biden would take a different track from the inhumane path that the Trump administration took. However, what makes his actions so noteworthy is that not only is Biden reversing Trump’s many unjust policies, he’s also overturning policies enacted by other presidents as well. The Dream Project welcomes these actions, as its mission is to create change and a promising future for our wonderful “dreamers.” Hopefully, with this welcomed change in Washington, we can give all “dreamers” an even better chance to succeed and thrive in this country.
The Biden Administration is currently focused on the issue of border entry policy. Biden issued a presidential proclamation ending the Trump-era national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, which had the effect of shifting money away from construction of Trump’s touted “border wall” and requires Congress to specifically appropriate new funds for the construction of the wall.
The three notable executive orders that Biden issued offer insights into how he views immigration policy. What is key about these immigration actions is that Biden is taking actions to protect not just “dreamers” but all immigrants seeking a better future in our country. One of the executive orders directs the Census Bureau to include undocumented individuals in the Census count. The Trump administration attempted to exclude these individuals, an effort that was rejected by the Supreme Court. The second executive order recognized that many Americans and individuals around the world lost faith in America’s legal immigration system and aimed to restore international trust in the system. During the Trump Presidency, long delays in the system were intentional and commonplace, causing widespread loss of faith in our broken immigration system. Biden’s order also increased inclusion efforts for new Americans to stop anti-immigrant sentiment.
Biden also put in place a system via executive order to solve one of the most serious homemade immigration-related humanitarian crises of recent time: child separation. Family separations became a hallmark of Trump’s immigration policy. The term “kids in cages” became a rallying cry for activists fighting the Trump White House. The Trump administration expanded the program to such an extreme that a federal judge ordered an end to this horrific practice and demanded reunification of families. It’s important to note, however, that while many of the inhumane efforts of the Trump administration are being reversed, there continue to be children held in facilities today.
While we welcome and applaud the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to reunite families, and legalize the 11 million individuals already in this country, we believe that everyone who comes to this country deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. That must always continue to be the promise of the American Dream for all who come to this country, especially those who come to this country as children, as “dreamers.” We must continue in the struggle for justice to help make this dream a reality for all!