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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

All talk: Biden’s immigration policy

While Biden has been very critical of the Trump administration and their policy towardsimmigrants, it seems to many that the only changes Biden has made are to his word choice. 

In March 2020, Trump began using Title 42 to suspend the right to seek asylum under and international treaties. Title 42 is a clause of the 1944 Public Health Services Law thatallows the government to prevent the introduction of individuals during certain public healthemergencies. 

This policy was highly criticized by the Biden administration.

“This is the first president in thehistory of the United States of America that anybody seeking asylum has to do it in anothercountry,” Biden said in a statement in October 2020, a few months before he took office. The policy remained in effect until May of this year when the public health emergency forCOVID-19 was lifted. This means a majority of the policy’s use was during the Bidenadministration. 

In January of this year, Biden went a step further, saying, “Do not just show up at the border.Stay where you are and apply legally from there.” But asThe Washington Post points out, “WiFiis not exactly readily available in the desert. Plus the new app they are using is glitchy,malfunctions for users with darker skin and offers very few appointments.” Despite a publicstance welcoming immigrants and refugees to the nation, Biden has done little to actually assistin their admittance to the U.S. 

Since the expiration of Title 42 in May, there has been an opportunity for Biden to reevaluate hisstance and craft his own policy.

“Mr. Biden’s administration is expected to impose a very similarrestriction on asylum seekers by quickly rejecting claims for most people who cross the border but do not seek refuge in Mexico first. Like Mr. Trump’s policy, the new approach is likely tolead to many migrants being deported in a swift process that critics say deprives them of due process,” according to The New York Times. Many would argue that Trump’s use of Title 42 was only a cover for his antagonismagainst immigration — so what does this mean for Biden? 

An area of Trump’s immigration policy Biden targeted was the use of for-profit prison contractswith ICE.

“No business should profit from the suffering of desperate people fleeingviolence,” Biden said. However, not only has this been something that Biden has not addressed in his time in office, but it’s also a problem that has expanded under his administration. Reuter’s reported the “stalled reformcoincided with a boom in private prison revenues from ICE contracts during the Bidenadministration and an increase in the percentage of detainees being held in private facilities,according to an analysis of ICE data by the American Civil Liberties Union.” 

While Biden has raised the annual ceiling for refugee admissions, the actual numberof refugeesadmitted has remained low. Raising the ceiling for refugee resettlement is only meaningful if a process is in place to admit them. Otherwise, the result is a pro-refugee policy in name only. TheWashington Post said it best, “If Trump had once built his border wall with paper and red tape,Biden has somehow reconstructed it out of pixels.” It’s difficult to say what a new, COVID-freeterm could mean for Biden-era immigration policy, but the first three years have been all talk. 

Sean Fay is a senior living off-campus (previously in Duncan Hall) studying Finance andEconomics. He currently serves as the Director of Finances for BridgeND. Feel free to reach outto him via email at

BridgeND is a multi-partisan political club committed to bridging the partisan divide through respectful and productive discourse. It meets bi-weekly on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Duncan Student Center Meeting Room 1, South W106 to learn about and discuss current political issues, and can be reached at or on Twitter @bridge_ND.


BridgeND is a multi-partisan political club committed to bridging the partisan divide through respectful and productive discourse. It meets bi-weekly on Mondays at 7 p.m. in Duncan Student Center to learn about and discuss current political issues and can be reached at

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.