Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Immigration was the hot-button issue throughout Donald Trump's presidency. He stepped up deportations, reduced the number of visas available, and closed the door to most refugees.
With the stroke of a pen, however, new President Joe Biden is seeking to quickly undo some of those changes. This post will focus on these quick changes. We will look at Biden's proposed legislative changes to immigration laws in a future post.
Biden signed a handful of immigration-related executive orders (EOs) during his first hours in office, making changes that do not require approval from Congress. While some are more ceremonial in nature, they signal a sea change in U.S. immigration policy for the next four years.
The orders include:
In a memo issued by the Department of Homeland Security after the inauguration, the agency announced it was pausing all deportations for 100 days except for terrorism suspects, those who arrived after November 1, 2020, and other special circumstances.
Practically, this means for 100 days, those who have overstayed their visas or crossed the border illegally should not fear being apprehended. However, this pause is for DHS to conduct a review of policies, which means immigration raids could start back up at the end of the 100-day period.
DHS also announced the end of the Trump administration's "remain in Mexico" policy, which required asylum seekers at the southern border to remain on the Mexico side while the federal government processed their cases. COVID-related border-crossing restrictions remain in place, and DHS instructed those already waiting in Mexico to remain there. However, new asylum seekers who reach the U.S. will not be sent back to Mexico.
The EOs and policy changes signal that the Biden administration is serious about undoing many of Trump's hard-line immigration policies.
A word of caution, however: the Biden administration does not want a new rush at the southern border. Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that it "will take months to be fully up and running in terms of being able to do the kind of asylum processing that we want to be able to do."
Immigrants and their family members should exercise patience while remembering that they do have legal rights and protections that they can assert if they are facing deportation.