With the latest issues occurring on the border, politicians have been calling on President Biden to enforce border security laws enacted by Former President Trump on the southern border.
While Trump and Biden may have differing views on how they have handled the immigration situation on the southern border, how much has changed between the two administrations when it comes to the ongoing situation at the border?
A report by the Bipartisan Policy Center compares both Trump’s and Biden’s immigration policies.
The Border Wall
One of the main campaign promises Trump made was constructing a massive border wall along the southern border. However, the project fell short with only 47 miles of the promised 800 miles built during his four years in office, according to the report.
The report said, Trump also declared a national emergency concerning southern border, citing, “a humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests,” and worsening unlawful migration. This declaration permitted the use of the armed forces at the border and the diversion of billions of dollars from other federal programs to construct the wall.
When Biden took office, he signed a proclamation terminating Trump’s emergency declaration, stating the wall was not a serious solution and a misuse of U.S. taxpayer dollars, according to the report. In response, Biden paused construction contracts and funding for the border wall and repurposed existing contracts to other projects.
As of now, the future of the border wall is unclear.
Migrant Protection Protocols
Also referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” program, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) was established in December of 2018. According to the report, roughly 65,000 asylum seekers were sent back to Mexico to await their immigration court hearing. Under the program, migrants would have to arrange outside counsel and transportation to their removal hearings and migrants would be returned to Mexico at the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection or Border Patrol Officer who apprehended them.
Shortly after Biden’s inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security suspended new enrollments in the MPP program, the report stated. A week later, migrants would be allowed to re-enter the United States to await their hearings, requiring migrants to register online with an international organization, be tested for COVID-19, and arrive at the U.S. port of entry to be readmitted to pursue asylum claims.
The “Title 42 program”, implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020, sought to expel arriving migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the report. Under the Public Health Service Act, the Department of Health and Human Services’ was established as the legal authority and authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release an order implementing travel restrictions from people of certain persons from countries where the coronavirus exists.
As of now, the Biden administration has kept the Title 42 program in place, except for unaccompanied children found at the border. Children being allowed to enter are processed by CBP and HHS’s office of refugee resettlement.
Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the White House has made it clear that they have no plans to revoke Title 42, despite growing calls to end the order.
Asylum Regulation Changes
In his final week of presidency, Trump implemented several asylum-related policies. Those included:
- DHS-issued omnibus rule significantly restricting asylum protections.
- Third country asylum rule establishing a mandatory bar to asylum eligibility for those traveling through a third country to the United States.
- Tightened procedures for asylum applications.
- Added public health-related security restrictions to eligibility for asylum.
In his February 2 executive order, President Biden announced his plan to review policies enacted under the Trump Administration.
As of now, only the Asylum Cooperative Agreements have been terminated, according to the report. Other actions, such as “Termination of the Central American Minors Parole Program” and the “Order Suspending the Right to Introduce Certain Persons from Countries Where a Quarantinable Communicable Disease Exists” (Title 42) have either been restarted or are currently under review.
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021
Introduced by Sen. Rover Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is based on President Biden’s campaign promise to introduce comprehensive legislation by tackling the border, overhaul the immigration system and address the root causes of migration. The bill would would offer a more humanitarian approach in the border process. According to the Congress.gov, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship in April and hasn’t advanced in Congress.