President Elect Took Eight Administrative Actions on Immigration.
Here’s What You Need to Know.
On his first day in office, President Biden took significant steps towards undoing the harm of the Trump administration’s immigration policies—and reforming our punitive and inhumane enforcement system.
In response to years of work by immigrants and advocates, Biden quickly signed a series of executive actions related to immigration. Here is a summary of eight immigration-related changes the new administration just implemented:
1. Scaling back Trump’s unchecked immigration enforcement.
An executive order and a related Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo rescinding Trump’s enforcement policy that indiscriminately targeted anyone who could be deported. Starting on February 1, interim priorities will focus enforcement on people suspected of terrorism, most people who have arrived to the United States since November 1—and some people who are currently incarcerated and determined to be a public safety risk.
It will be important to watch how these interim enforcement priorities are applied in practice, especially given the United States’ history of racism in the criminal justice system and anti-terrorism initiatives and excessively harsh immigration consequences for many crimes.
2. 100-Day moratorium on most deportations.
A DHS memo implementing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations, starting on January 22. There are a few narrow categories of people who will still be deported, including people who have recently arrived to the United States and people who are suspected of terrorism. The State of Texas has filed a lawsuit against the moratorium claiming it violates agreements of questionable legality made by the Trump administration in its final days.
During the moratorium, DHS is required to review its enforcement practices and make recommendations for new priorities. Additionally, the Biden administration has not yet specified what will happen to the approximately 15,000 people currently in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. It is essential that further plans include an end to our country’s cruel immigration detention system.