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On Immigration, Biden Begins Repairing Damage Done by Trump

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Trump took a wrecking ball to our broken immigration system; Biden has begun the formidable job of unwinding the cruelty and building anew


The Biden administration is making progress – reunifying families ripped apart by the Trump administration, better managing the arrival of unaccompanied minors at the border, and unwinding the border wall project.

  • Reuniting separated families: The most shocking violation of human rights during Trump’s war on immigrants was the separation of kids and toddlers from their parents in order to send a message to others of cruel deterrence: family separation. It remains an indefensible moral stain on our nation. The U.S. government, in our name, took kids from their parents without setting up even a rudimentary tracking system. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas just announced that four families are being reunified this week inside the United States, including two mothers who haven’t seen their kids since late 2017. As Secretary Mayorkas stated, per CBS News, “The first families reuniting this week are mothers. They are sons. They are daughters. They are children who were three-years-old at the time of separation. They are teenagers who have had to live without their parents during their most formative years … Our team is dedicated to finding every family and giving them an opportunity to reunite and heal.”
  • Making progress toward an orderly, humane, and safe border: As CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez first reported last Friday, “The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by U.S. Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month … underscoring the significant progress made by the administration.” The New York Times headline reads, “U.S. Shows Progress in Moving Migrant Children From Border Jails.” Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin takes on the breathless reporting just weeks ago with an opinion piece titled, “Hey, whatever happened to the border crisis? For a deep-dive on what’s happening at the border, read this report by Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American Immigration Council. 
  • Canceling border wall projects funded by Trump’s raid of appropriated military budgets: On Friday, the Biden administration announced that “no more money will be diverted from other purposes to building a border wall…the Department of Defense will begin cancelling all wall projects using the diverted funds, and will take steps to return remaining unobligated military construction funds to their appropriated purpose as permitted by law.” According to The Hill, “a Defense Department spokesperson said the funds would be returned to accounts designated for ‘schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account…’”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

The Trump Administration inflicted deep damage to our immigration system — at home, at the border, and in Central America. While much remains to be done, the Biden Administration is making progress. 

As a nation, we are turning the corner, reversing and undoing the cruelty and chaos of the Trump administration, and making progress toward a modern immigration system that is safe, orderly, and humane. The Biden administration is reunifying families ripped apart by Trump; building out a safe process for resettling unaccompanied kids with family and sponsors; and ending the construction of the stupid border wall and the lawless raids on appropriated funds to fund it.

It’s time for the Biden administration to move forward even more decisively. America wants a pathway to citizenship for millions, a managed border that treats refugees and immigrants humanely, reform and reduction of our bloated enforcement apparatus, and a fair, humane and functional immigration system. For all the focus on Biden’s first 100 days, we believe it’s the next 100 days that will determine whether the Biden administration succeeds in these tasks.