Resources for Understanding Biden’s First Year: Immigration Agenda, Policy Changes, Long-term Reforms, and Stark Failures
January 18, 2022
January 20, 2022 marks one year since President Joseph A. Biden’s inauguration. During his presidential campaign, Biden committed to “finish the work of building a fair and humane immigration system–restoring the progress Trump has cruelly undone and taking it further.” Has he delivered on that commitment in his first year in office?
Several CMS publications and resources examine this question:
- Essay | Biden Admin. Should Hold Fast to Its Immigration Agenda
In a recent essay for Law360, CMS’s Executive Director Donald Kerwin writes that President Biden should remain committed to the “immigration agenda set forth in his campaign and in a series of early executive orders and administrative actions.” Kerwin explains that Biden’s success at enacting this agenda has been “uneven:”
In some areas, the president has lived up to his campaign commitments; in others, courts have temporarily blocked positive reforms and in still others, the administration has kept unconscionable policies in place.
- Report | Improving the U.S. Immigration System in the First Year of the Biden Administration
Prior to Biden’s inauguration, CMS and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School proposed more than 40 reforms that could be accomplished through administrative action in the Biden administration’s first year. The proposals cover 12 substantive areas.
- Event Video | Biden’s Immigration Agenda: Immediate Actions Taken
This conversation between T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Donald Kerwin, Daniel E. Martínez, Melanie Nezer, and Cristina Rodríguez – which was moderated by Deborah Amos – examined the early actions of the Biden administration on immigration. Recorded at a virtual event in early February 2021, it covers the orders and proclamations issued by President Biden in his first week and additional steps needed to reform the US immigration system.
- Webpage | President Biden’s Executive Actions on Immigration
In his first weeks in office, President Biden issued a series of Executive Orders and administrative actions that sought to reverse Trump-era policies and reform the US immigration system. They outlined an ambitious agenda to address the situation at the southern border, the causes of irregular migration from Central America, and the impacts of climate change on migration. They also committed to rebuilding the refugee admission program and to expanding legal immigration pathways. To those ends, CMS released important reports in the early months of the Biden administration on rebuilding the US refugee resettlement program and strengthening pathways to permanent residence and citizenship.
- Webpage | President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration and Refugees
This webpage details the Trump administration’s executive orders on immigration and refugees. They include the infamous ban on admissions from Muslim majority countries, the suspension of the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), the expansion of interior enforcement as part of a strategy to incite fear in immigrant communities, and the diversion of funding for the border wall. These measures are policy legacies of President Trump’s first week in office. Biden’s early executive actions laid the groundwork for reversing many of these policies.
- Journal on Migration and Human Security Paper| Moving beyond Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Trump: Principles, Interests, and Policies to Guide Long-Term Reform of the US Immigration System
This Journal on Migration and Human Security (JMHS) paper outlines the principles that should guide long-term reform of the US immigration system and “would serve the nation’s interests, honor its liberal democratic ideals, promote the full participation of immigrants in the nation’s life, and exploit the opportunities offered by the increasingly interdependent world.” This paper, and the JMHS Special Collection it introduces, chart a course for a just and humane immigration system that looks beyond political commentators, polling, and party politics. It defines an immigration agenda for the Biden administration and any administration committed to “policies that safeguard our security, provide a fair and just system that helps to grow and enhance our economy, and secure our cherished values.”
January 18, 2022