search
Sections List
American Journal News

Say goodbye to the Muslim ban: Biden expected to make major changes on immigration

Biden will likely use executive orders to reverse some of Trump’s most controversial actions.

By Associated Press - November 14, 2020
Share
Joe Biden

Some dramatic moves on immigration are expected in the early days of the Biden administration. Joe Biden will likely use executive orders to reverse some of Donald Trump’s most controversial actions, rolling back moves that were a central feature of his administration and important to his base. The Biden administration plans to restore protection for people brought to the U.S. illegally as minors and stop using Pentagon funds to build a border wall. Biden unveiled a detailed, highly ambitious plan on immigration, but it will take time to undo many actions taken by Trump. The incoming president will also likely face a divided Congress, making it difficult to enact any kind of sweeping, comprehensive changes to the nation’s immigration system. Here’s a look at what to expect:

__

A CHANGE OF TONE

Restricting immigration was a signature issue for Trump, who infamously called Mexicans rapists as he pledged to build border wall in launching his campaign. His administration banned travelers from some predominantly Muslim countries as one of its first acts, took many steps to limit legal immigration, and cut the number of refugees allowed in the country by 80%.

Biden has said “immigration is central to who we are as a nation,” noting that most Americans can trace their ancestry to immigrants, but it isn’t a core issue. It’s not even mentioned on his transition website’s top priorities: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial justice, and climate change.

Biden named Cecilia Munoz, President Barack Obama’s top immigration adviser, to his transition team, which some interpreted as signaling a more moderate tack.

__

BIG, EARLY MOVES

Biden has said he will move quickly to undo some of Trump’s signature immigration initiatives. The border wall? The roughly 400 miles built so far won’t come down, but the new administration won’t keep building it or taking money from the Pentagon to fund it over the objections of Congress.

The incoming administration plans to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which currently shields from deportation about 650,000 people who came to the country when they were young. He plans to overturn the travel ban on people visiting the United States from 13 countries, many of them Muslim-majority.

One of Trump’s first moves in office was to tell immigration officials that everyone in the country illegally was subject to deportation. Biden is expected to return to criteria similar to what Obama adopted toward the end of his tenure, largely limiting deportations to people with serious criminal records in the United States.

Biden said he wants the government to help find parents of hundreds of children who were separated from their parents at the border early in the Trump administration.

Biden wants to get rid of policies that have been “detrimental” to seeking asylum — such as the policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration court — but he is expected to move cautiously to avoid triggering more arrivals.

Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Texas Democrat who was a Biden appointee to the joint immigration task force with Bernie Sanders, said a resolution will require coordination with Mexico.

“This is a moment that’s going to require true leadership,” she said.

__

WHY SOME CHANGES WILL TAKE TIME

Nearly every major policy change under Trump is in court and may take effort to disentangle, including considerations of protecting executive power. Other reversals would be subject to formal rule-making procedures that require time.

Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, thinks Biden will move cautiously on asylum to avoid setting off a new wave of arrivals and says other changes will face “procedural and practical problems.”

Take the “public charge” rule, which disqualifies more people from green cards if they rely on government benefits. Biden wants it reversed but would need to go through the extensive rule-making exercise. A federal appeals court sided with Trump on ending humanitarian protections that have allowed hundreds of thousands of people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan to remain in the United States. Biden says only that he would order an “immediate review” of “Temporary Protected Status.”

Yale-Loehr, a strong critic of Trump’s policies, says it is “going to take four years to undo all the damage that the Trump administration has done” while Biden attends to the pandemic and other issues.

__

WHAT COULD STAY THE SAME

At least initially, Biden may keep in place a Trump administration order that authorizes Customs and Border Protection to quickly expel any migrant as a public health measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though critics question the health justification for the order, the new administration may decide it’s necessary to avoid a rush of migrants and to protect Border Patrol agents and other CBP employees, says Doris Meissner, a former senior U.S. immigration official now with the Migration Policy Institute.

“This health circumstance is not likely to just disappear come January or February,” she says.

__

PROSPECTS FOR MAJOR IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL

Biden says he will “commit significant political capital to finally deliver legislative immigration reform,” which would be necessary to fix problems with the American immigration system and resolve the fate of millions of undocumented people living in the U.S. That’s a long shot, at best, with the divided Congress. George W. Bush called for a big immigration bill, to no avail. Obama pushed for one as well, and it died in the House.


Read More
Alaska House committee advances, expands proposal to bar trans girls from girls sports

Alaska House committee advances, expands proposal to bar trans girls from girls sports

By Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon - April 16, 2024
Bills targeting trans people are on the rise nationwide and in Alaska — most focus on children

Bills targeting trans people are on the rise nationwide and in Alaska — most focus on children

By Claire Stremple, Alaska Beacon - April 01, 2024
Anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ resolutions to be voted on at state Republican convention

Anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ resolutions to be voted on at state Republican convention

By Michael Achterling, North Dakota Monitor - March 26, 2024
Senate approves bill establishing a right to foster, adopt by anti-LGBTQ parents in Tennessee

Senate approves bill establishing a right to foster, adopt by anti-LGBTQ parents in Tennessee

By Anita Wadhwani, Tennessee Lookout - March 22, 2024
Georgia GOP senators hijack bill for culture war on trans treatment, sex ed and bathroom access

Georgia GOP senators hijack bill for culture war on trans treatment, sex ed and bathroom access

By Ross Williams, Georgia Recorder - March 20, 2024
LGBTQ+ voters in Michigan, other battleground states overwhelmingly support Biden 

LGBTQ+ voters in Michigan, other battleground states overwhelmingly support Biden 

By Jon King, Michigan Advance - March 19, 2024
AJ News
Latest
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Group launches effort to explore ballot initiative restoring abortion access in Idaho

Group launches effort to explore ballot initiative restoring abortion access in Idaho

By Kelcie Moseley-Morris, Idaho Capital Sun - April 19, 2024
Michigan House panel OKs bills allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control

Michigan House panel OKs bills allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control

By Katie O'Brien Kelley, Michigan Advance - April 19, 2024
New NC GOP chair flirts with bogus stolen election conspiracies

New NC GOP chair flirts with bogus stolen election conspiracies

By Jesse Valentine - April 19, 2024
Democrat Lucas Kunce’s fundraising surge could be a game changer for Missouri Senate race

Democrat Lucas Kunce’s fundraising surge could be a game changer for Missouri Senate race

By Jesse Valentine - April 18, 2024
Republican Laurie Buckhout attends event hosted by convicted sex offender

Republican Laurie Buckhout attends event hosted by convicted sex offender

By Jesse Valentine - April 17, 2024
Women harmed by abortion restrictions campaign against Trump in Wisconsin

Women harmed by abortion restrictions campaign against Trump in Wisconsin

By Baylor Spears, Wisconsin Examiner - April 17, 2024