In 2016, during the campaigns for the U.S. presidential election, President Donald Trump used the issue of immigration to gain the support of some of the masses. Looking back at his four years in office as president, it’s clear he successfully kept to his words by implementing over 400 immigration policies. Although these changes were meant to be for the benefit of Americans, they also come with adverse effects.
To give an example of one of such effects, let us consider the case of a lady from El Salvador seeking Asylum in the U.S. She explained to the immigration judge how her boyfriend disfigured her jaw, knocking out two of her front teeth with his punches. He raped her and forcefully had his name tattooed on her back in jagged letters, proudly saying he was giving her a mark of his brand.
In the month of September 2020, at the Baltimore Immigration Court, the presiding judge had substantial evidence to prove the woman’s claims and that her terror of going back was valid. However, he had to deny her asylum request. This denial came because, in the current American Law, the dangers she faced were not considered a basis to grant an asylum request. This came to be due to a ruling in 2018 by Jeff Sessions, the first attorney general for the Trump Administration. They were stating that domestic and most gang based violence are not valid enough to grant Asylum.
This and several other cases show the adverse effects of recent policies, leading to a denial of requests even to those deserving of it. However, President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has promised to revert some of these laws, but they say it may take months or even years to accomplish. During a private interview with Susan E. Rice, Biden’schoice for Domestic Policy Adviser, and his incoming national security adviser, Jack Sullivan, hosted by the Spanish Wire Service (EFE), the duo urged the masses to exercise patience with the Biden immigration policies reform.
What makes it difficult and time-consuming?
It is true the President-elect will be able to make changes to currently existing policies on his first day in office. However, there are numerous other regulations that face legal hurdles that will take a lengthy process to undo, experts say.
In the words of the director of Zolberg, Alexander Aleinikoff–”it’s like a tornado passing through just wrecked everywhere.” His words as he tried to describe the alterations made by the former administration.
An analyst of the Migration Policy Institute, Sarah Pierce, says the regulations successfully implemented by the Trump team upon closer examination were “layered.”She says a lot of technical methods and interlocking rules were called into play to ensure these regulations are not easily undone. The words of Stephen Miller, a Senior Adviser to President Trump and creator of many of these regulations, seems to be in agreement with what Sarah says. He once said unwinding these laws will be “difficult, complex and time-consuming.”
In addition to legal hurdles, there are political obstacles to overcome. This is due to the fact that some individuals in congress are in support of newly made regulations hence putting pressure on the President-elect to leave some rules untouched. Also, a divided Congress would lead to decisions being made at a slow pace. In order for things to take effect faster, the majority of the house must speak with one voice for these changes to be made. However, this is currently not the case,thereby extending the time it could take for most changes to be made.
Furthermore, immigration regulations are not the only things Biden has to fix. The economy of the U.S.is not at its best at the moment and requires attention. Also, there is a global pandemic to deal with. This could all lead to the slow-paced implementation of new immigration policies. The Biden administration will be faced with the daunting task of deciding on what sector to focus on. Even concerning immigration, there is still a need to decide on which to prioritize over others.
The challenges are many and could be time-consuming. Despite that, Susan Rice told EFE that an executive authority would be used to implement the Biden immigration agenda. However, she was careful with her choice of words. This is because the Biden team is concerned a drastic change to the Trump regulations may lead to a large inflow of immigrants at the borders.
The incoming Domestic Policy adviser went further to say the Biden led administration will be able to take critical steps that will change some regulations right away. Nonetheless, she said it would require some time to implement other changes, and the issues at the border will not be fixed instantly, owing to the principal fact that it took about 4-years to create these current circumstances. However, she reaffirmed the team’s commitment and zeal towards ensuring the matter is addressed in full.