President Biden has been pushing lawmakers across the political spectrum to pass immigration reforms, but change has been coming slower then many expected. Biden took quick action early in his presidency by rescinding Trump’s travel ban and freezing construction of the border wall, which brought backlash from Republicans. But many progressives are critical on his stance on whether to raise the refugee cap and how he has relied heavily on a Trump-era law that allows for swift deportation of migrants. President Biden is faced with numerous challenges on the immigration front, both practical and political. His administration is attempting to overhaul a system that the Trump administration used in large part for hard-line enforcement. Most of the progress since President Biden took office was through roll-backs of Trump-era immigration policies. However, the effects of those changes, have yet to flow down to most immigrant communities. For most immigrants, not much has changed in reality just yet.
While Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders seeking to dismantle Trump’s immigration legacy, many of them direct the Department of Homeland Security to study issues in order to determine what should replace them down the line. The slow pace of change has frustrated many in the immigrant community. Some of the moves most criticized by immigration advocates are the administration’s slow release of temporary worker visas and an initial attempt to maintain former President Trump‘s refugee admissions cap of 15,000. Advocates are also frustrated by a reluctance to grant Haitian nationals temporary protected status and use of a Trump-era policy to expel migrants at the southern border. Immigrants encountered crossing the border illegally can be immediately expelled to Mexico because of the COVID-19 pandemic under a provision known as Title 42 that the Trump administration applied to all foreign nationals. The Biden administration has exempted unaccompanied minors.