Opinion The Border Mess That Trump Left Behind
Immigration: Biden administration is relying on a Trump-era policy to turn away migrants at border
The Biden administration has moved swiftly to distance itself from Trump-era immigration policies, but at the US-Mexico border, a pandemic-related order put in place by former President Donald Trump remains in effect, allowing officials to continue to turn away thousands of migrants. © Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images US President Donald Trump speaks after touring a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas on January 12, 2021.
As President Joe Biden tries to undo the damage that his predecessor did to America’s immigration system, three problems are getting in the way: The nation’s existing laws are outmoded and overly restrictive, the United States hasn’t devoted the resources necessary to review individual cases, and the Biden administration has little control over when migrants will arrive at the border and seek entry.
Soon after taking office, Biden moved to dismantle Donald Trump’s nastiest immigration and border-enforcement policies. Biden has lifted Trump’s ban on travelers from certain Muslim countries; halted construction of a wasteful border wall; promised to protect enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, whom Trump was ready to deport; and launched a task force toseparated at the border. Yesterday, he proposed reform legislation that, if enacted, would give undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. a route to becoming citizens.
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The Senate kicks off day two of the second impeachment trial of former President Trump on Wednesday.While the first day focused on the constitutional question of whether the Senate could hold a trial for a former president, the actual oral arguments begin today.The historic trial centers on whether Trump incited a mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety and temporarily halting Congress's certification ofWhile the first day focused on the constitutional question of whether the Senate could hold a trial for a former president, the actual oral arguments begin today.
In the meantime, the U.S. border is coming under stress. Biden’s more humane policies have led to rumors that the U.S.-Mexico border is now essentially open, both for asylum seekers who show up at ports of entry and for others who cross unlawfully. Smugglers arethat idea. For the moment, the United States’ humanitarian interest lies not just in showing kindness to those who reach the border, but also in stemming the flow of people who undertake the journey in the first place.
The Trump administration defined itself with its efforts to shut down immigration, and Biden largely defined his presidential candidacy as a repudiation of Trump. But, ironically, the new administration finds itself imploring potential migrants not to head north. “Now is not the time to come,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psakilast week. “The vast majority of people will be turned away.”
Biden rescinds national emergency at U.S. southern border that allowed Trump to fund border wall
President Biden has told Congress he will rescind the emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border that was put in place by Trump in February 2019.“I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border was unwarranted,” Biden wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. “I have also announced that it shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall, and that I am directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.
reported nearly 78,000 “encounters” in January at the southwest border—that is, 78,000 apprehensions or deportations of would-be immigrants. That’s nearly double the figure for the same month last year and the highest for January in a decade. If the current pattern holds, the U.S. is on track for more than 1 million encounters in 2021. “I see a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf, and we just now have the tropical storm force winds on the coast,” an immigration-shelter worker recently warned .
As matters stand, the U.S. government doesn’t have enough immigration judges and attorneys to evaluate asylum claims, and existing Border Patrol stations and other facilities are inadequate for processing applicants. People who are fleeing persecution and violence deserve refuge, but not every border crosser qualifies for asylum. Determining who is eligible takes effort and resources. “The central challenge is that building capacity to efficiently and fairly process asylum claims necessarily will take time,” Alan Bersin, the former head of Customs and Border Protection under President Barack Obama, told me. “Reforming systems while they are processing large and increasing numbers of new arrivals can result in a crushing and self-defeating burden.”
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Author and psychoanalyst says Trump's followers are suffering a "psychiatric emergency" fueled by delusional rage People participate in the “Million MAGA March” from Freedom Plaza to the Supreme Court, on November 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump marching to protest the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
In the meantime, even as conservative lawmakers and Fox News commentators stir up fears of would-be immigrants, many in the Democratic Party are deeply uncomfortable with the standard tactics of border enforcement. Immigration-rights activists dismayed by Obama’s enforcement efforts criticized him as the “deporter in chief.” The cruelties of the Trump era pushed the party’s rhetoric farther to the left. Many Democratic candidates during the 2020 presidential-primary season supported decriminalization of unlawful border crossings, and activists and officials on the party’s progressive flank support the outright abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Both positions, however, are unpopular among an American public that generally supports immigration.
Perhaps, the candidate who won the Democratic nomination and the presidency took more moderate stances. Now Biden has the tricky problem of squaring his own sense of empathy and the expectations of his party’s base with the duty to protect America’s borders under existing laws.
First 'Remain in Mexico' asylum seekers enter U.S. at San Ysidro
Some immigrants kept waiting across the border by Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy will be allowed to enter the U.S. while awaiting court dates. San Diego began processing them Friday; two Texas sites will follow next week.Under President Biden’s direction, border officials Friday began processing the first of the estimated 26,000 people who have pending cases in U.S. immigration courts and have been waiting in Mexico under the Trump administration's program, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP.
Under Trump, the federal government failed to build up its own capacity to manage migration surges and arbitrate individual cases. The Trump team tried simply to. When the coronavirus pandemic arrived, Trump invoked the CDC’s authority to expel any border crossers. Although Trump failed to get Mexico to pay for his wall, he managed to bully that country in 2019 into taking on responsibility—via the so-called Remain in Mexico program—for holding asylum seekers who sought to enter the U.S.
But Mexico’s patience is waning, and the dangerously cold weather conditions befalling people housed in tents just south of the border this week are one more reminder of Washington’s failure to manage basic logistics—even before the arrival of a new surge of migrants. Only now is the U.S. beginning to accept asylum seekers previously enrolled in Trump’s. That program has 25,000 active cases, which will be handled at a rate of only 300 a day.
The Biden administration needs to buy time, communicating to potential new migrants that the border is still controlled and keeping thefor now. Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is also warning against false rumors that “ ” in the United States. At the same time, the U.S. has to make better preparations for how to handle those who do arrive at the border. Rumors—and the hopes of people seeking a better life—are hard to quell. But Biden will have more maneuvering room, both operationally and politically, if he succeeds in signaling to migrants that they should not and that an easing of Trump’s policies is not the same as an unconditional welcome.
At the border, confusion, anxiety and hope as U.S. unveils new process for asylum-seekers .
Thousands stuck for months in Ciudad Juárez await new chance at U.S. entry“I need to ask someone for help,” said an exasperated Baltazar, 40, a native of Guatemala who lived for more than a decade in Los Angeles —and is now keen to get back there and be reunited with her three U.S.-born children.