President Biden ran on a platform of policies that were generally diametrically opposed to our past president. This includes immigration. A hot button issue for Americans on both sides of the aisle. But like many issues from the past administration there is a lot of work to be done to clean up the mess.
To his credit Biden has come on pretty strong on a few high-profile issues. He halted work on the border wall and he started a program that will allow folks at the southern border to wait in the United States while their asylum applications are heard – rather than remain in Mexico. Remain in Mexico was a horrific program created by the previous government in an effort to discourage migrants by treating them with cruelty when they reached our border. The Biden administration is working to reunite the over 700 hundred children who remain separated from their families because of the previous administrations policies. The Muslim ban was retracted so that we are no longer barring travel from certain Muslim majority countries. During the coronavirus pandemic, Trump also issued proclamations blocking the entry of many temporary foreign workers and applicants for green cards. While Biden has criticized the restrictions, he has not yet moved to reverse them. Finally, the current president has also directed the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to review the enhanced Public Charge rules that were recently put in place.
There is much to be done as far as the details of the administrative process in all the agencies that touch immigration. Border Patrol must look at the anti-immigrants among their own. USCIS must work to decrease the back log that grew during our last four years of xenophobia.
Finally, the Biden administration introduced a bill in congress last week. He doesn’t want to make the same mistake as Obama did and wait too long on an issue that is overdue for our nation’s stability and for the Democrats success going forward. The bill attacks many of the big problems with our current system. It does away with the three- and ten-year bars which served to tear families apart. It provides a pathway to citizenship for most folks who’ve been in the country for an extended period of time. Erasing the one yar bar for Asylum and increasing the U-Visa annual cap from 10,000 to 30,000. This immigration bill stands a pretty decent chance of passing to a large extent because of the Democrats current hold on power. This will make a tremendous difference in changing our immigration system into a more just and fair process.