Biden’s empty immigration promises

An American president’s first 100 days in office is their first opportunity to make ambitious changes. Their priorities set the tone for what to expect from their leadership.
Maresa Miranda

An American president’s first 100 days in office is their first opportunity to make ambitious changes. Their priorities set the tone for what to expect from their leadership.

President Franklin Roosevelt first used the phrase “first 100 days” in a 1933 radio address amid a crippling financial state, introducing 15 programs that became part of the New Deal. In 2009, Barack Obama entered the White House during a recession and used his first 100 days to introduce the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included a $787 million stimulus package.

Four years ago, Donald Trump laid out an equally ambitious plan for his first 100 days, promising, among other things, the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. That priority led to the longest government shutdown in history.

Months after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris entered the White House, Americans are waiting to see their approach to governance. After four torturous years under a damaging administration, especially as it concerns immigration, Biden and Harris’ electoral victory brought hope to many Americans.

Despite the fact that Biden inherited unpopular policies from the previous administration, voters still expect him to focus on matters focusing on BIPOC, racial justice, and immigration,. The topic of immigration has been a challenge for previous administrations, but Biden’s new efforts are thought to be aided by a Democratic Congress and Senate.

Nevertheless, we are still an apparently divided nation as seen by Republican politicians’ stalling of this administration’s efforts. Voters are expecting Biden to take a bold position on immigration and reverse the actions of President Donald Trump, especially after the separation of children from their families and his administration’s handling of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.

In January, President Biden responded by introducing an immigration bill that lays out a path to citizenship for nearly 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. The legislation would also place a 100-day moratorium on deportations.

A federal judge indefinitely banned Biden’s enforcement of the 100-day moratorium on most deportations. It’s important to note that the court ruling did not require ICE to schedule them. Although Biden has the ability to prolong deportations and abolish ICE, he hasn’t expressed any intention of doing the latter. Even worse, new undocumented immigrants are subject to immediate deportation.

This is not at all what his voters hoped to see in this administration’s first 100 days.
Furthermore, the implementation of Biden’s legislation is problematic. Biden’s guidelines for who immigration and border agents should target for enforcement of policy focuses on people who’ve committed felonies and pose a safety threat. This stipulation would allow local immigration authorities more discretion over who is stopped and deported, significantly expanding ICE’s ability to carry out detentions and deportations.

As a result, more than 26,000 people have been deported under President Biden, while children detention centers have been reopened and rebranded.

In February, a Hill-HarrisX poll found that 53 percent of voters approved of Biden’s work on immigration. This survey was conducted online among 949 participants in the United States with a sampling margin of error +/- 3.18 percentage points. Results were weighed for age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, income, political party, education, ideology, area type, and vote choice where necessary for alignment with the demographics of the U.S. population.

While many are quick to conclude that the Democratic Party works to represent minorities and those in need, people should be cautious when inappropriate actions, coupled with evident media protection and rebranding of similar initiatives, take place.

It’s going to take some time to reverse many of Trump’s policies, much of which will have to be undone piece by piece. In this polarized environment, it’s challenging to accept this reality.

However, the unfortunate truth is that more than 26,000 people have been deported. There has also been a drone bomb dropped on an African nation, while children detention centers following the same standards as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services facilities have been reopened.

Rebranding does not accomplish much. Many people however will be convinced it does. All in all, the hope is that this administration will experience a newfound level of accountability and work toward effective collaboration with Congress to create more equitable policies and strive for equal representation.

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