A giant F. That’s what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris deserve and are getting from me on their immigration policy, almost one year into their administration.
After all the hype and BS on the campaign trail last year, what we have gotten is more of Donald Trump’s immigration policies and speak. Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy counsel for the American Immigration Council, summed up Joe Biden’s first year as president and his actions on immigration as “disappointing.”
Aaron is being nice. I say it is: Disastrous, Disillusioning and Disgraceful.
I agree with Ronnate Asirwatham, government relations director of the Network Lobby For Catholic Social Justice, who recently said that many Americans and Catholics especially, “are ashamed that President Biden has locked the door at our southern border to our immigrant siblings.”
The advocates are correct. If 2020 signaled hope for immigrants after a rapid-fire push by Donald Trump and his team to shove through anti-immigration changes by executive might, the Biden administration has shown its unwillingness to use their power to help immigrants. Feels like more of the same or more of the return of El Deporter-in-Chief.
What seemed like winds of change almost immediately after he was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021, has turned into a tsunami of deportations, racism towards Haitian migrants, the continuation of Title 42, and the return of the Migrant Protection Protocols or the famous Remain in Mexico policy.
Worst has been the Trump-like messages coming from the administration.
“The border is closed. We are expelling families. We are expelling single adults,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on a national Sunday news show in March.
This was followed by a similar message from Kamala Harris during her first official trip as vice president to Guatemala and Mexico.
“Do not come. Do not come,” Harris said June 7 in a message in Central America. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders. If you come to our border, you will be turned back.”
Then on Sept. 19, 2021, the world was stunned as images of white border patrol agents on horseback appeared to be lassoing Black Haitian migrants in Del Rio while trying to grab them by their clothing. This occurred after the administration urged the
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to send out horse patrols to stop migrants from coming over the border and into Del Rio.
This came a day after the Department of Homeland Security announced a six-step “strategy to address the increase of migrants in [the Texas border city of] Del Rio” that included a “surge” of agents to “improve control of the area” and new expulsion flights to Haiti.
What followed after the backlash and after the cameras went away, was the deportation of more than 8,000 back to a country many had long left and no longer know and one dealing with poverty, gang violence, the assassination of a president, an earthquake and lawlessness.
“The U.S. government showed a total disregard for the right to seek asylum when it sent agents on horseback with reins flailing to control and deter this largely Black migrant population,” said Alison Parker, U.S. managing director at Human Rights Watch. “This violent treatment of Haitians at the border is just the latest example of racially discriminatory, abusive, and illegal U.S. border policies that are returning people to harm and humanitarian disaster.”
Then came December and hopes that Build Back Better would bring a holiday gift of immigration reform to help millions living in the U.S. without working papers for years but paying taxes. Again, no such luck as that was killed by a rule-focused parliamentarian and two so-called Democrats, who might as well be part of the Trump cult.
So here we are—at the end of 2021, almost a year since Joe Biden took office, and immigration reform is no longer a ray of hope but a growing blaze of despair.
Dare we hope that 2022 is the year that Joe Biden takes that “F” and turns it into an “A” by using the executive power that is most certainly in his hands to deliver change immigrants can be proud of? However you celebrate come Dec. 31st, let’s all say a prayer for immigrants and commonsense immigration reform. It’s long overdue.
Happy New Year!
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.