Soon after his inauguration, President Biden announced several major policy changes with respect to our nation’s broken immigration system. One of the first executive orders issued by President Biden was to suspend all deportations for 100 days to fully allow the new administration to fully review all cases before any further actions are taken. Despite this order, U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton for the Southern District of Texas, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, issued a temporary restraining order blocking the executive order nationwide for fourteen days following a legal challenge by the state of Texas. This matter is still being litigated and a final decision likely won’t happen for some time.
Apart from the previously mentioned executive order which has been blocked, most of President Biden’s executive orders on immigration simply call for a review of, rather than an end to, President Trump’s previous immigration policies. Most of these executive orders contain review periods of up to 180 days, meaning that if anyone expected for immigration policies to change immediately, they are going to have to wait a while. These policies include President Trump’s remain in Mexico policy where asylum seekers literally had to live in Mexico while their asylum cases were pending. This also includes reviewing ICE’s removal priorities – essentially whether the current administration will cast as wide of a net in apprehending and deporting illegal aliens as the Trump administration cast. Another policy which is certain to be reviewed and eventually overturned is the third country agreements the United States has with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras whereby the US would send asylum seekers at the US border to apply for asylum in these “safe” third countries, the irony being that these countries are some of the most dangerous and crime ridden countries in the world.
While President Biden has already issued a number of policy decisions, there are a lot of matters that the current administration still hasn’t dealt with yet, such as Title 42, a public health authority invoked by the Trump administration amid COVID-19 that border officials are using to quickly expel asylum seekers without due process. Presently, all asylum seekers that request asylum at our border are currently being turned away. The former administration cited concerns over COVID as the reason for the decision, but Title 42 most likely used as a pretext for former President Trump’s larger immigration policy decisions and his attack on the nation’s asylum laws as a whole.
Given the extensive changes President Trump had already made with respect to our nation’s immigration policies, the changes President Biden wants to initiate will likely take years to implement and we probably won’t see President Biden’s vision fully realized until closer to the end of his first term in office.
Christopher Kinnison of Liberty Law Group is an immigration lawyer in central Louisiana where his firm specializes in immigration removal defense.