Has Joe Biden Stuck to his US Immigration Policy Pledges?

During his presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to make sweeping changes to US immigration policy, claiming that he would reverse Trump’s deeply damaging and outright xenophobic restrictions.

From Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ to his hardline border policies, Biden criticised the former President’s approach to immigration, instead proposing a number of ways in which he would transform the US system to make it more humane.

Since being in office, Biden has followed through on many of his pledges – specifically when it comes to reversing Trump’s policies. And yet there are those that he has failed to uphold, diminishing the sense of hope he had inspired in millions across the nation.

Reach out to our team through our website or call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    What changes has Biden made to US immigration policy?

    So far, Biden has tackled various aspects of Trump’s immigration legacy and has rightly been praised for doing so. Under the Trump administration, over 5,000 children were separated at the US border. To combat this, Biden signed three executive orders in February, one aspect of which was directed at reuniting those families that had been separated under Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy.

    The executive orders also moved to rescind Trump’s ‘public charge’ rule, which made it increasingly difficult for poorer migrants to acquire permanent residency in the US. On his first day in office, Biden presented an immigration reform bill to lawmakers which would enable an estimated 11 million people living in the country unlawfully to access an eight-year pathway to citizenship.

    He also scrapped Trump’s widely criticised ‘Muslim ban’ which blocked travellers from 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries. Biden similarly immediately suspended the construction of Trump’s infamous US-Mexico border wall and abolished the extreme vetting practices that have led to an excessive number of rejected visa applications.

    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews
    Reviews.io Logo

    Empty promises or a broken system?

    While there is a lot to celebrate about Biden’s moves to create a less hostile immigration system in the US, some of his actions have regrettably sounded alarm bells.

    Throughout his presidential campaign, Biden promised zero deportations within his first 100 days of office. However his order was blocked by a Trump-appointed judge who ruled against the 100-day deportation suspension. Since this ruling, asylum seekers have continued to be deported from the US, with many seeing this as just one attempt by Trump loyalists to intervene with Biden’s agenda.

    While some are claiming it would be unfair to hold Biden directly responsible for these continued deportations, migrants’ rights organisations and activists are highlighting that he is failing to implement the radical changes needed to overhaul the US’ restrictive immigration policy.

    It remains unclear whether the Biden administration will appeal Judge Tipton’s injunction, leading many to question why the President is failing to fight for the deportation suspension. What’s more, this ruling does not require ICE to schedule deportations to resume at their previous pace – Biden should and could be prolonging these but as of yet, he is not.

    Further aspects of the US’ resumption of deportations are also sowing seeds of doubt. At the end of January, the then-acting homeland security secretary, David Pekoske, laid out guidelines which called for deportations to be limited to suspected terrorists, convicted felons deemed a threat to public security, and undocumented people caught on the border after 1st November.

    Yet shortly after this, activists revealed that 23 Africans were still set to be deported in early February – a flight which would have defied Pekoske’s order. US immigration and customs enforcement eventually cancelled the deportation flight to West Africa, but only after allegations emerged regarding brutality by ICE agents towards the deportees.

    While the cancelled deportation flight came as welcomed news, it remains deeply concerning that Pekoske’s order alone was not enough to deter US enforcement from carrying out the deportation, leaving activists sceptical of the new administration’s commitment to enact substantive change.

    Work with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance with your US immigration application. Contact Us

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      Detention facility changes

      Another controversial element of Biden’s immigration strategy thus far is his decision to convert detention facilities into ‘processing centres’ and his reopening of Trump-era border shelter used to house unaccompanied teenagers crossing the border from Mexico.

      Facing mounting criticism, Biden commented: “Our hope and expectation is that it won’t stay open very long, that we will be able to provide for every kid that comes across the border to safely be housed in a facility that is licensed”. However, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the use of such shelters to temporarily house children crossing the US border, writing via Twitter: ‘This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party.’

      While it is true that transformation will take time, Ocasio-Cortez wrote that progressive change requires ‘reimagining our relationship to each other and challenging common assumptions we take for granted’.

      It is easy to assume that Biden faces no other option but to reopen these shelters to deal with the rise in minors crossing the border during the pandemic, however there is no justifying why these facilities remain unlicensed and continue to be contracted out to for-profit companies. As a bare minimum, this ought to have been addressed.

      Biden must be dedicated to entirely reforming US immigration policy – from dismantling detention facilities to defunding ICE – if he is to make the changes necessary.

      If you have any questions about your US immigration application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Visit our website or call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

        Advice Package icon

        Advice Package

        Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

        Application Package icon

        Application Package

        Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

        Fast Track Package icon

        Fast Track Package

        Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

        Appeal Package icon

        Appeal Package

        Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

        Advice Package image

        The Advice Package

        During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Request the Advice Package
          Application Package image

          The Application Package

          With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Application Package
            Fast Track Package image

            The Fast Track Package

            Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Fast Track Package
              Appeal Package image

              The Appeal Package

              By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Request the Appeal Package

                We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone. Learn more

                  Request a call back from our immigration experts

                  Related pages for your continued reading.