On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. Since his inauguration, President Biden has already issued new policies that will affect immigrants throughout the country. Several hours following President Biden’s inauguration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum to halt deportations for 100 days, beginning this week.
The newly issued memo aims to halt the majority of deportations due to “significant operational challenges at the southwest border as it is confronting the most serious global public health crisis in a century.” The overall goal of this policy is to ensure safe and legal processing at the border, restore fair asylum procedures, as well as prioritize the administration’s response to national security and public safety threats.
Not all deportations, however, will be halted. Deportations may continue for immigrants “who engage in or are suspected of terrorism or espionage, were not physically present in the U.S. by Nov. 1, 2020, or have voluntarily waived any rights to remain in the U.S. provided they were made fully aware of the consequences of the waiver.”
In addition, the 100-day deportation pause does not apply to immigrants apprehended at the border. Since March of 2020, most immigrants who have been caught trying to enter the U.S. unlawfully by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have been expelled without the ability to seek immigration relief. This was due to the Trump’s Administration reliance on the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s Title 42 Order, suspending the entry of certain immigrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, the introduction of this deportation pause by President Biden marks a swift change from the Trump’s Administration hardline stance on immigration. Hopefully, President Biden will continue to fulfill his campaign promise to reform the immigration system and to ensure the safety and rights of immigrants throughout the country.