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Fronteras: President Biden’s efforts to reform immigration saw some ups and downs in his 1st year in office

Migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico
Migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. bathe in the Rio Grande river, which divides the border between Ciudad Acuna, Mexico and Del Rio, Texas, U.S., as they wait to be processed into the U.S., are pictured from Ciudad Acuna, in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico September 19, 2021.

President Biden has issued more than 200 executive actions on immigration in his first year in office.

Most of those actions reversed actions put into place by former President Trump.

Immigration enforcement under Trump included travel bans, family separation, and prolonged detention. Some of those actions were struck down by courts.

Biden hasn’t been able to undo some of Trump’s policies. Migrants and asylum seekers are still being rapidly expelled at the border under the health policy Title 42.

And asylum seekers will once again have to wait in Mexico for their day in US immigration court.

Muzaffar Chishti, senior fellow with the Migration Policy Institute, said the Biden administration scored some victories in the past year.

Muzaffar Chishti is an MPI Senior Fellow and Director of the MPI office at New York University School of Law.
Jasper Gilardi | Migration Policy Insitute
Muzaffar Chishti is an MPI Senior Fellow and Director of the MPI office at New York University School of Law. His work focuses on U.S. immigration policy at the federal, state, and local levels.

“Arrests have gone down 50% in the Biden administration from the last year of the Trump administration,” he said. “Family detention as we know it has ended. These are real differences in the lives of people. So while he has not been able to achieve big policy changes like legalization, or Dreamers and TPS (Temporary Protective Status) and essential worker bills, in the lives of ordinary immigrants, there has been a remarkable sea change.”

Despite Biden’s efforts, Chishti said there’s a long shadow that’s obstructing a path to true bipartisan immigration reform.

“As long as Donald Trump remains active on the political scene, immigration will continue to become a polarizing factor in American politics.”

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1