One of President Joe Biden’s main initiatives during his campaign was to reform the immigration system. loosening the tight controls put in place by his predecessor. Now, as millions of immigrants arrive at the border, criticism from both sides of the aisle mounts at his seeming lack of action toward what many see as a border crisis.
Immigration has seen a surge since Biden’s presidency began, many of them children. The number of children alone at the border reached an all-time high last month, the AP reported. Biden has tried to stop this – his official platform states that he is against former President Donald Trump’s “cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border.” He created a task force to reunite families in February, but faces criticism over the continued usage of detention centers for holding children and “cages” that became notorious of the Trump presidency, both of which are still in use due to the large flow of immigrants.
As a result. 40% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of parentless children at the southern border, while only 24% approve, USA Today reported.
As Biden nears the 100-day mark of his Presidency, he has successfully managed to push through several executive orders regarding immigration policy. The most influential of these were the three executive orders regarding the status of asylum at the Mexican-U.S. border. One focused on “[mandating] a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a controversial program that pushed 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for U.S. court hearings,” Reuters reported.
The second executive order addresses a policy put in place by President Trump: The public charge rule, which states that “an alien who is likely at any time to become a public charge is generally inadmissible to the United States and ineligible to become a lawful permanent resident.” Biden’s order initiated a review of the public charge rule, since the rule drew criticism from the left for supposedly making it easier for affluent immigrants to enter the country.
The last of these main orders is the Biden Immigration Reform Bill, which creates an 8-year pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and provides permanent protection for DACA Dreamers living in the U.S.
Despite these orders, Biden faces criticism from many members of his own party, who believe that Biden isn’t doing enough when it comes to immigration. The CATO Institute states that many leftist groups are angry that Biden is continuing a Trump policy known as expulsion, “under which the Border Patrol arrests anyone who crosses illegally and drives the immigrants to a port of entry and pushes the immigrants back into Mexico.”
Members of the Biden administration have defended themselves by pointing out that “the Trump team inhibited their ability to get a true grasp of the situation by not fully cooperating during the transition in the months after the election,” CNN reported. The administration didn’t expect immigration numbers to swell to such a shocking level, and that’s why children have been left in detention centers for up to 72 hours, past the legal holding period.
At the same time, others have reported that the crisis at the border is actually overstated. The Washington Post found that the growing numbers of immigrants at the border is due to the usual seasonal bump, plus people who were forced to wait during the pandemic. “We analyzed monthly U.S. Customs and Border Protection data from 2012 through February and found no clear evidence that the overall increase in border crossings in 2021 can be attributed to Biden administration policies,” the Washington Post reported.
Whether the crisis is an overblown misunderstanding or due to a lack of action by the President, tensions still surround the White House when it comes to immigration.