Sunday, January 23, 2022
Mixed One-Year Assessments of Biden on Immigration
It has been one year since President Joe Biden took over the White House and ushered in many promises of immigration reform. On the week of the anniversary, there have been numerous retrospectives. Many reports acknowledge meaningful progress on some aspects of immigration policy reform, including executive orders to rescind or review the most damaging immigration policies from the prior administration, such as the public charge rule, and give him credit for boosting refugee admissions and lifting immigration worker bans related to COVID-19.
The most vigorous critics note disappointments on Title 42 border closures to asylum seekers and the volatile Migration Protection Protocols that keep migrants on the Mexico side of the Southern border. Many accounts note disappointment about the lack of a DREAM Act to expand on protections for undocumented immigrants, even though an actual DREAM Act is contingent on legislative reform and numerous proposals championed by President Biden failed due to Congressional inaction, missing votes, or the parliamentarian's rebuke to using reconciliation procedures (one prospect is folded into the spending bill). The Biden Administration did take direct action to strengthen protections for undocumented youth by utilizing notice and comment rulemaking to formalize the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has remained vulnerable to repeated federal court injunctions absent binding regulation. It has not expanded use of parole authority that Vice President Harris and several law professors once contemplated as a meaningful source of protection.
Actual facts and useful graphics summarizing the effects of policies on migration since Biden took office appear in this report from Pew Research.