Joe Biden's New Immigration Policy Takes Its First StepsBy María Fernanda Barría | Tue, 02/23/2021 - 08:21
Twenty-five Mexican migrants who had been forced to remain in Mexico during Donald Trump’s administration recently crossed the border in San Diego. This is the first immigration measure implemented by US President Joe Biden, who announced during his campaign that he would radically modify immigration laws passed during the previous presidency.
“The Trump administration caused a lot of devastation over four years, so it is going to take time to undo that kind of damage,” mentioned Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, in an interview with The Washington Post. “We want the administration to take its time to implement its changes.”
The event, one of the most significant in terms of immigration policy since Biden became president, has caused rumors to spread along the border, where thousands of Mexican migrants are waiting for answers. “These actions do not represent that the US border is open,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told The Washington Post. “We are committed to expanding legal avenues of protection both here and in the rest of the region. The US is a country with borders and laws that must be enforced.”
The Biden administration has taken steps to begin changing legislation. However, a policy remains in place that allows US border officials to turn back almost anyone instantly due to the pandemic. For this reason, Biden will review the migrant protection program known as ‘Remain in Mexico’.
This program allowed the US to keep 60,000 asylum seekers on the other side of the border. The program is currently halted, but applicants with pending proceedings will not be allowed to immediately enter the US while the administration figures out how to enable them to do so legally.
The new policy represents a new hope for immigrants. According to Associated Press, 28 percent of the 1.7 million Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans who were apprehended at the border between 2014 and 2019 have been returned to their home countries. Only 7.6 percent qualified for humanitarian protection and the vast majority of the percentage still have unfinished lawsuits or have remained in the US illegally despite being ordered to leave.
A previous MBN article informs that Mexican President López Obrador welcomed the implementation of new immigration policies by President Biden. “We wish him the best of luck and want to emphasize that with my government, there will be no problems. Our governments will be very clear and there will be mutual respect,” he said.