President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to put a swift halt to border wall construction and loosen immigration restrictions imposed by Trump.
“There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration, No. 1,” Biden told National Public Radio earlier this year. “I’m going to make sure that we have border protection, but it’s going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it.”
Biden also said he will take on the heavy lift of pushing comprehensive immigration reform through Congress — a feat not accomplished since 1986 — and create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in his first 100 days.
The president-elect’s broader immigration plans represent a complete reversal of the Trump administration’s policies over the past several years — and he can accomplish much of it fairly easily.
Biden wants to expand opportunities for legal immigration, including family and work-based visas as well as access to humanitarian visa programs. Biden’s immediate moves would largely entail rescinding various actions initiated under Trump that barred immigrants from certain countries and curtailed legal immigration, including new restrictions on asylum and rules making it harder for poor immigrants to obtain legal status.
Biden also has vowed to prioritize the reunification of families still separated under the Trump administration’s now-defunct “zero-tolerance” policy — which led to the separation and detention of more than 2,800 migrant families and children in 2018.
Biden has faced criticism for the number of deportations that took place under the Obama administration, which deported 3 million undocumented immigrants over eight years. (The Trump administration has deported fewer than 1 million over the last three fiscal years.)