Thursday, December 3, 2020
Guest blogger: Leighton Lee, law student, University of San Francisco
President-Elect Joe Biden has a laundry list of first day promises including producing comprehensive immigration legislation, which would create a pathway for citizenship nearly 11 million migrants already living in the United States. President-elect Biden has also promised to make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) permanent during his first day in office. The Trump Administration has repeatedly targeted DACA during his tenure as president, but was blocked back in June by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision noting that Trump’s administration had not gone given adequate justification in terminating the program.
Outside just his first day promises and within the first 100 days of his presidency, Biden has vowed to end family separation at the border, as well as immediately rescinding the Trump era Muslim travel ban. Biden has also pledged to dismantle many of the Trump policies including the construction of the border wall at the southern border, reforming the asylum system and plans to increase government supervision over I.C.E. and Customs and Border Protection agents. These are only a handful of the promises that President-elect Biden has made to the American people. But are these promises enough?
President-elect Biden said he will stop the construction of the U.S.-Mexico Border wall that was a pinnacle of the Trump administration’s rampage against immigration, and he will no longer take money from the Pentagon to fund the wall. However, this administration will not take down the portions of the wall that have already been built. This is not enough to mend the immense partisanship that has emerged in this country.
The Biden campaign ran an ad during the presidential race vowing to reunite the 545 children that have been separated from their families. President-elect Biden has said that on his first day he will issue an executive order creating a task force to accomplish that goal. However, it seems as though the immigration task force has taken a back seat to the COVID-19 task force. Biden has recently unveiled the members that he has chosen to form the COVID-19 task force, however, there has been no mention of the immigration task force outside of the recommendations made in the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations. This is not enough to remedy the trauma these families, and these children, have undergone.
Empty promises and figurehead task forces are not enough to change the American immigration system. Rolling back the damage that Donald Trump has caused is not enough; Biden must enact new and lasting policy change to make a difference.
Will Biden be enough? Only time will tell.