Politics Biden Takes Step to Roll Back Obama’s Migrant Detention Policy
Fact check: Breaking down Joe Biden's first month of claims
President Joe Biden was more consistently factual in his first month in office than his predecessor ever was in office. But Biden was not perfect.President Joe Biden was more consistently factual in his first month in office than his predecessor ever was in office. But Biden was not perfect himself.
Withtaken into custody on the southern border every day, the President Biden is taking his biggest step yet in rolling back the legacy of both of his predecessors, and . According to Department of Homeland Security draft plans reviewed by the , the administration is in the process of turning in south Texas into screening centers that would release migrant families into the United States within 72 hours of their arrival while they await removal proceedings.
The plan includes turning two dormitory-style facilities outside San Antonio with 2,400 beds and 839 beds, respectively, into centers that would screen migrant families, set up court dates, and release them to nonprofits that would help find transportation and lodging on the way to stay with friends or relatives before their court dates.
Over 400 Migrant Kids Were Sent to Shelters in One Day, Far Higher Than Peak Average Under Trump
The White House has stressed that these are unaccompanied minors whom it aims to quickly transfer to the care of families or sponsors.President Joe Biden's administration is receiving criticism and backlash from some progressive lawmakers and activists as immigrant children are being transferred to detention centers that many condemned while Trump was in office. The administration has pushed back against these criticisms, saying that there is a growing number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border and that the shelters are being used to ensure the children are socially distanced amid the pandemic.
The reason for the change is partially spurred by the number of child migrants coming over the border this winter: On Thursday, Axiosthat last week Border Patrol referred 321 children to Health and Human Services Custody every day, which is up from an average of 203 unaccompanied minors earlier this year. (In an email to staff on Thursday, one senior ICE official that, in 2021, unaccompanied minor and family arrivals “are expected to be the highest numbers observed in over 20 years.”) But Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — who worked together to expand migrant detention in 2014 during a major increase in family crossings — have also expressed a need for change. “Children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately,” Biden last June. “This is pretty simple, and I can’t believe I have to say it: Families belong together.” On Thursday, Mayorkas that “a detention center is not where a family belongs.”
Biden promised a 'fair and humane' immigration overhaul. What he inherited is a mess.
“It’s one thing to make promises. It’s another thing to execute on those promises.”Ask a Republican, and most will insist Biden is doing it all wrong: Dismantling Trump’s legacy is too radical. The president needs to keep the borders closed. A migrant crisis is brewing — or already here.
Though they are significant, the administration’s sentiments and early steps are not a panacea. Axiosthat despite the policy shift, the number of migrants held by Border Patrol for longer than 72 hours has been rising almost every day. Mayorkas’s broad comment was provided to NBC News after reporters asked a direct question about whether or not he would commit to ending family detention. And most importantly, the administration is still enforcing the Trump policy known as Title 42, which cites the coronavirus as a reason to allow DHS to rapidly deport asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, without due process.
As the Biden administration does spot treatment on immigration policy by executive action, it does not appear that hiswill see any light in the House for the next month. Politico that Democrats now plan to move the bill — which includes an eight-year path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants — through the House Judiciary committee in April.
Biden's approach to kids and families at the border Is both better and worse than Trump's .
Trump made a mockery of America’s history as a haven for the displaced and persecuted. The new president doesn’t just need to repair the damage. He has to treat migrants and asylum-seekers with the dignity that they deserve — and which we, as a nation, owe them. Joshua Leach is public policy and communications strategist at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a non-profit advancing human rights with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.