January 20, 2022 will mark a year since The Donald finally vacated the White House. Adios we said on January 20, 2021 as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were finally sworn in, thanks in large part to immigrant voters. Sadly, while The Donald is long gone, his legacy on immigration lives on in the Biden administration, despite vows during the election campaign that they would stamp the mad hatter’s legacy out.
So much for that vow. This week, another of The Donald’s legacies will return, one that Ole’ Joe himself once called “inhumane.”
That’s right—Joe has done another about-turn on immigration leading to one of my friends and fellow immigrant, who is still waiting on her green card because of a backlog in the system, to tell me this week that, “Biden seems worse than Trump.”
Never would I have imagined that comparison when I threw my vote unwillingly to Biden in order to rid us from the Trumpian terror.
But that choice has now come back to smack me in the teeth as I see a White House under Biden and Harris, still going along with immigration policies they once slammed as draconian and inhumane under Trump.
As of this week, asylum seekers looking to enter the U.S. from its southern border will again be sent to Mexico while their claims are assessed after the Biden administration announced the reinstatement of the controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy on Thursday, Dec. 2.
It will initially begin in San Diego and in the Texas cities of Laredo, Brownsville and El Paso.
Under the reinstated deal, single adult asylum seekers will be the primary focus of the removals, with those transferred offered COVID-19 vaccinations. Mexico will accept asylum seekers from Spanish-speaking countries, the Washington Post reported.
The U.S. says it will aim to complete migrants’ claims within 180 days, amid fears they will be left to languish in Mexico. The U.S. Department of Justice also said it is assigning 22 immigration judges to work specifically on these cases.
This is just another of Biden’s about-faces. As BuzzFeed news points out, in a debate last October, then–presidential nominee Biden took the Trump administration to task over a policy that forced asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico as their cases worked their way through the U.S. immigration courts.
“This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that [said] anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country,” Biden said. “That’s never happened before in America. … They’re sitting in squalor on the other side of the river.”
Yet President Biden is not only bringing back the plan but the White House is also expanding who can be eligible to be sent back across the southern border to include anyone from the Western Hemisphere other than Mexico. Under Trump, only people from Spanish-speaking countries and Brazilians were allowed to be returned to Mexico. The expansion now makes it possible for U.S. border officials to send Haitians to Mexico, which generally did not happen in years prior.
Biden has also firmly kept Trump’s Title 42 in place and Department of Homeland Security officials have continued to rely on the public health order that cites the pandemic for quick deportations. In September and October alone, the Biden administration sent back thousands of Haitians through the public health order.
Biden had also promised to end the private, for-profit jails but has since exempted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency from this effort. The number of immigrants in detention has nearly doubled to 29,000 since he took office. Overall, 75% of ICE detainees have no criminal record—ICE classifies a person as a convicted criminal even if the crime is as innocuous as not keeping a dog on a leash, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, also known as TRAC’s analysis.
So much for change you can believe in right? Looks like Joe took great notes from the other Deporter-in-Chief and his former boss.
It’s a kick and punch in the gut and immigrant voters will not forget. As Guerline Jozef, head of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, summed it up: “Instead of working to fulfill their campaign promise of an orderly, safe, and humane immigration system, the Biden-
Harris administration chose to expand the cruel Trump MPP policy to include all countries in the Western Hemisphere.”
Thanks a lot Joe and Kamala, for proving that you are worse than Trump. At least The Donald told you exactly what he was going to do and did it. Unlike the hypocrisy that immigrants are now forced to live with.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.