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Biden Has Taken Nearly 300 Executive Actions on Immigration in His First Year, Outpacing Trump
Press Release
Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Biden Has Taken Nearly 300 Executive Actions on Immigration in His First Year, Outpacing Trump

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s administration is being criticized across the political spectrum for moving too slowly on immigration. Immigrant-rights activists accuse the president of delay in unraveling hard-line actions taken during Donald Trump’s presidency and conservatives are critical of what they see as inaction to rising flows at the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet as Biden reaches his first anniversary in the White House, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis finds that he has outpaced his predecessor in the number of executive actions taken during his first year in office, making significant change in the areas of humanitarian protection, interior and border enforcement and legal immigration.

During his first 364 days as president, Biden took 296 executive actions on immigration—as compared to 86 during Trump's first year and 472 during the entire Trump presidency, analysts Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter write in a new article for MPI’s online journal, the Migration Information Source. Of Biden’s 296 immigration actions, 89 have reversed or started to undo Trump policies, making clear the administration is doing more than unraveling his predecessor’s policies.

The Biden administration’s actions cover a wide range of issues—greatly narrowing the number of unauthorized immigrants vulnerable to arrest, detention and removal; lifting some barriers to U.S. entry and to accessing immigration benefits; and raising the refugee resettlement ceiling to 125,000.

The administration also has acted to protect as many as 1 million noncitizens from deportation and give them eligibility to apply for a work permit by expanding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals from Venezuela and Myanmar who are already in the United States; extending TPS designations that Trump sought to terminate for other nationalities but was blocked by the courts from carrying out; and by allowing certain victims of crime who are petitioning for a U visa to receive deferred action while awaiting their visa adjudication.

Still, chaotic responses to high levels of migration at the southern border and lack of progress on two key Biden campaign promises—legalization for the country’s unauthorized immigrant population and rebuilding a border asylum system largely dismantled during the prior administration—have fueled public perception that the administration has done little on immigration.

“While most attention has focused on these unmet expectations, there can be no doubt that through large and small-bore executive actions alike the administration has advanced or changed policies in ways that have significant impact on humanitarian protection, immigration enforcement and legal immigration, touching the lives of large numbers of immigrants,” Chishti and Bolter conclude.

Read the article here: www.migrationpolicy.org/article/biden-one-year-mark.

And to sign up for monthly U.S. immigration policy updates in the Migration Information Source, click here.