While the COVID-19 public health crisis and its impact on the U.S. economy will preoccupy President-elect Joe Biden during his first weeks in office, the incoming Democratic administration is also expected to quickly start dismantling President Trump’s immigration agenda.
After Mr. Biden is sworn-in in January, his administration will move to fully restore an Obama-era program that shields 640,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, halting Mr. Trump’s unsuccessful efforts to end it, people familiar with the plans told CBS News. The incoming administration also intends to rescind Mr. Trump’s travel and immigration restrictions on 13 countries, most of which are African or predominantly Muslim.
Mr. Biden will look to implement a 100-day freeze on deportations while his administration issues guidance narrowing who can be arrested by immigration agents. Obama-era memos that prioritized the deportation of immigrants with criminal convictions, recent border-crossers and those who entered the country illegally more than once were scrapped in 2017 by Mr. Trump so that no unauthorized immigrant would be exempted from being arrested and removed from the country.
A source familiar with Mr. Biden’s plans said new guidance would be designed to curb so-called “collateral arrests,” which are apprehensions of immigrants who are not the target of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations but are nevertheless taken into custody because they are in the country without legal status.
Mr. Trump made immigration a major theme of his insurgent and successful 2016 campaign. Despite frequent court challenges, his administration achieved rare success on this front in four years, reshaping the U.S. immigration system through more than 400 high-profile and little-noticed policy changes.
However, all of Mr. Trump’s immigration measures — from the so-called “travel ban” and the efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to new requirements for green cards and the asylum restrictions for migrants at the U.S. southern border — were enacted without Congress through proclamations, policy memos, regulations or other executive actions. Continue reading