Immigration Impact of Trump: A Review of His Policies and Biden’s Strategy

Date:

Immigration

Summary:

  • Despite the harshness of the family separation programme, Trump occasionally shown ambivalence towards particular parts of immigration.

  • The Trump administration experimented with a number of deterrent measures during the year.

  • A mixed picture of immigration policy under the Trump administration was created by the increase in border crossings and the government’s harsh enforcement tactics.

  • The unanticipated repercussions and ongoing difficulties highlighted the need for comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the underlying factors that lead to migration and promotes a more compassionate and effective system, even if the Trump administration focused on deterrence and quick action.

  • The impact of Trump’s border surges continues to affect the national discussion on immigration and emphasises the urgent need for long-term solutions that prioritise compassion, fairness, and efficient border management even as the Biden administration struggles with its own unique set of border issues.

Introduction:

Immediately after Donald J. Trump was elected president, his administration began making dramatic changes to the nation’s immigration policy. Notably, among the first acts taken were a travel ban that particularly targeted nations with sizable Muslim populations and severe checks at the southern border. President Biden’s record on immigration has come under fire from Mr. Trump since he left office, underscoring their divergent philosophies. Although immigration activists had expected President Biden to totally counteract Mr. Trump’s agenda, his policies move away from cruelty and fear, setting a contrary tone. Let’s examine the salient features of Mr. Trump’s immigration and border policy and contrast them with the one employed by President Biden.

1. The Travel restriction:

The contentious travel restriction was one of President Trump’s core immigration measures. Trump signed an executive order shortly after taking office with the intention of limiting travel from seven countries with a majority of Muslims for a 90-day period. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen were among the nations impacted, and resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States was halted.

2. Turmoil and Legal Battles:

The travel ban was immediately put into effect, causing turmoil as stranded travellers who were already on their way to the United States when the order was signed swamped the airports. Following the abrupt disruption, advocacy organisations filed a flurry of cases that finally made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The policy was affirmed by the Court in 2018, allowing the government to continue using it. The travel prohibition changed throughout time, with countries being added or deleted, frequently due to worries about terrorist activity, including countries in Africa.

3. Deterrence via Cruelty:

President Trump’s immigration policy has been characterised by deterrence through cruelty throughout his administration. To deter potential immigrants from trying to enter the United States, the administration established policies that created fear and harsh living conditions for immigrants. Although contentious, some defenders of the administration’s harsh attitude thought these strategies were successful.

4. Biden’s Strategy:

Since taking office, President Biden has come under fire from opposing viewpoints on the immigration issue. While some proponents of immigration anticipated for a full reversal of Trump’s policies, President Biden’s strategy has, in part, depended on deterrence and mirrored tactics used by previous administrations. The policies of President Biden, in contrast to those of Mr. Trump, have avoided using cruelty and terror as means of deterrence.

5. Using a Distinct Tone:

The goal of President Biden’s immigration policies has been to strike a balance between greater humaneness and border protection. The administration has prioritised addressing the underlying causes of migration, supporting legal avenues for asylum seekers, and improving circumstances for migrants in detention centres despite the implementation of measures like increased border enforcement and immigration judges. These initiatives mark a significant departure from the harsh language and methods used by the previous government.

Trump’s Ambitious Vision for the Border Wall and Its Limitations

In 2017, Donald J. Trump aimed to fulfil one of his earliest campaign pledges: the construction of a wall along the United States-Mexico frontier. The idea was initially proposed by Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg as a mnemonic device to remind the candidate to address immigration in his speeches; however, it rapidly evolved into a rallying cry at his events.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump disclosed candidly to The New York Times editorial board his strategy for capturing and retaining his audience’s attention: “You know, if it gets a little boring, if I see people starting to sort of, maybe think about leaving… Trump envisioned a colossal structure with fervour and grandiosity. He suggested incorporating spikes on the top, black paint that would burn the palms of anyone attempting to scale it, and even a moat at the base. His vision extended thirty feet into the sky. At one point, he questioned controversially the viability of firing migrants in the legs to impede their progress. His aides, however, primarily disregarded such extreme suggestions.

Despite his unwavering dedication to the wall, Trump confronted significant obstacles in realising his vision. The wall’s construction became entangled in a partial government closure, and Congress did not allocate funds for its construction. Trump pledged to take matters into his own hands through executive branch action despite opposition. Costing an estimated $15 billion, fewer than 500 miles of barriers were constructed, mostly in locations where pre-existing dilapidated barriers already stood.

In private, Trump’s critics, including some members of his own Republican party, regard the limited progress on the wall as a weakness of his presidency. A comprehensive, fortified border wall remained an elusive objective. Financial and logistical complexities, along with Democrats’ staunch opposition and legal obstacles, impeded its implementation.

Trump’s approach to immigration became symbolically represented by the border wall. It resonated with his constituency, eliciting powerful emotions and fervent support. However, its precise effect on border security and immigration remains debatable. Opponents contend that resources would be better spent on comprehensive immigration reforms, addressing root causes, and investing in advanced technology and personnel.

As the Biden administration takes office, border security remains a priority, albeit with distinct strategies. President Biden has transferred the focus from physical barriers to a multifaceted approach that includes technology upgrades, investment in ports of entry, and addressing the root causes of migration. The border wall constructed during the Trump administration stands as a symbol of an ambitious but unfinished project, while the future direction of border policy remains a crucial area of contention and reform.

Family Separation: The Long-Term Effects of Trump’s Controversial Policy

With the number of illegal border crossings continuing to rise in 2018, President Trump and his staunchly anti-immigration friend, former Senator Jeff Sessions, came up with a new strategy for deterrence. As attorney general at the time, Sessions suggested a ground-breaking measure: separating kids from their parents as part of a new “zero tolerance” policy. According to this policy, individuals who crossed the border were arrested and their children were taken away from them. Sessions made his intentions known during a meeting when he said, “We need to remove minors… Keep children outside if you care about them. refuses to grant amnesty to parents.

Heartbreaking photographs and anecdotes of youngsters traumatised and wailing after being ripped from their parents’ arms filled the media as a result of this policy. The general public’s anger and widespread criticism of the administration’s actions peaked. Trump finally signed an executive order in 2018 to formally terminate his own administration’s family separation policy after receiving a lot of criticism.

Trump indicated his openness to bring back the unpopular strategy if re-elected in 2024, displaying a lingering attitude towards it. The issue of family separation is still a source of intense discussion and anxiety in the country’s immigration discourse.

Despite the harshness of the family separation programme, Trump occasionally shown ambivalence towards particular parts of immigration. He occasionally voiced a desire to keep some aspects of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) programme, which was implemented under President Obama. DACA gave people who were brought to the country as youngsters protection from deportation. Trump had promised to halt the programme when he ran for president, but he instead let Sessions make the announcement. As a result, a protracted legal dispute that dragged on for years became involved in the future of DACA.

The nation’s opinion of Trump’s immigration legacy has been permanently altered by the trauma caused to families and the long-lasting effects of the family separation policy. The law served as a sobering reminder of the human cost involved in using severe deterrence tactics. Concerned people, advocacy groups, and human rights organisations are still working to seek justice and reparations for the impacted.

The effects of family separation serve as a crucial reminder as the United States moves forward of the need for comprehensive immigration reforms that prioritise humanitarian concerns, preserve family unity, and ensure a just and compassionate approach to those attempting to enter the country in search of safety or a better life.

Trump’s Battle to Stop Border Crossings and Unintended Effects

Border crossings turned into President Trump’s main focus in 2019. But it turned out to be a difficult year for his administration. Human rights advocates had sharply criticised a deal with Mexico that would force asylum applicants to wait there while their cases were processed in the United States, claiming it was an effort to undercut legitimate asylum. However, the deal had not been fully implemented along the entire border, which made conditions more difficult.

The Trump administration experimented with a number of deterrent measures during the year. One strategy, which involved conducting deportation raids against families in ten significant cities, was ultimately scrapped. The policies put into place at this time also contributed to the crowded conditions at the border. Children who arrived as unaccompanied minors and were processed by Border Patrol officials were supposed to be moved to shelters overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services before being released to a relative sponsor. Trump’s deterrent tactics, however, discouraged many sponsors from stepping forward because they were concerned about disclosing personal information that might be used for deportation. As a result, many kids spent significantly longer than the required 72-hour transfer limit in border cells. Children were exposed to sickness and unhygienic circumstances at these facilities because they lacked enough hygienic resources.

Trump enacted a travel ban from China, the country where the coronavirus originated, in response to the virus’s appearance in the United States in early 2020. Additionally, in response to the outbreak, his administration implemented a policy known as Title 42 in March, relying on an obscure section of public health legislation to deport immigrants and asylum seekers. Title 42 gave the administration the authority to enact some of its strictest border controls, allowing agents to immediately turn away immigrants without giving them the chance to request asylum.

The pandemic gave Stephen Miller, the man behind Trump’s immigration policy, the chance to use this rule to deny asylum claimants, as he had long hoped to do. The Trump administration even first deported children from other nations, including those travelling alone, to Mexico during the outbreak, in violation of international refugee regulations.

The administrations of both Trump and Biden maintained that Title 42 was required to stop the coronavirus from spreading. However, this policy’s unforeseen result was to encourage thousands of desperate people to continuously try to enter the nation. Numerous people who were affected by the rule were swiftly sent back to Mexico, where they made another attempt a few days later.

A mixed picture of immigration policy under the Trump administration was created by the increase in border crossings and the government’s harsh enforcement tactics. It brought to light how challenging it is to strike a balance between border security issues and humanitarian concerns. The unanticipated repercussions and ongoing difficulties highlighted the need for comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the underlying factors that lead to migration and promotes a more compassionate and effective system, even if the Trump administration focused on deterrence and quick action.

The impact of Trump’s border surges continues to affect the national discussion on immigration and emphasises the urgent need for long-term solutions that prioritise compassion, fairness, and efficient border management even as the Biden administration struggles with its own unique set of border issues.

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