Last week, President Biden signed three executive orders. The third order demanded a full review of the Trump administration immigration policies. It directed the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Secretary of Homeland Security to identify any policies that do not align with Biden’s ambition to create a fair and humane immigration system. Finally, it declared that the identified issues would begin to be corrected 90 days after the order’s initial release.
This order is extremely important. Trump’s harmful influence on the course of immigration reform cannot be understated. Stanford law professor Lucas Guttentag built an entire online database cataloguing all the changes Trump made to the immigration system during his four years in office. The site records over one thousand orders and actions, organized into categories like “enforcement” and “humanitarian.” Some actions were minor bureaucratic changes, and others were more serious attacks on the very humanitarian fabric of our immigration system. One memorandum excluded the records of non-citizens from the protection of the Privacy Act. Another action expanded fingerprinting to groups that were previously waived from the requirement. A different update allowed the State Department to collect the social media handles of those applying for visas in order to scrutinize their online presence. All of these actions, and many others, only served to unnecessarily complicate the lives of immigrants.
The Biden administration will face major challenges in their process to correct Trump’s policies. It will take some time. But it is a necessary task if we are to restore faith in our immigration systems. And, even more importantly, once these problems are addressed, we must work hard to ensure that such a broad attack on immigration cannot happen again.
Explore Professor Lucas Guttentag’s Database Here: https://immpolicytracking.org/home/
Read More About the Challenges Facing the Biden Administration Here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/10/us/politics/trump-biden-us-immigration-system.html