Less than two months into his presidency, Joe Biden has made it clear that reforming the U.S. immigration system is a top priority. On day one, he reversed some of his predecessor’s more egregious actions, including banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. Then he unveiled a sweeping immigration agenda that proposed an 8-year pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
These initial actions are likely just the start of Biden’s plans to overhaul legal immigration to the United States.
Boundless is tracking Biden’s immigration actions and his rollback of Trump-era measures. Note that the Trump administration undertook more than 400 immigration executive actions over the course of four years. Boundless has therefore focused on the executive orders and policies that have had the greatest impact on the U.S. legal immigration system.
Each tracker is organized by topic:
- Summary tracker
- Legal immigration
- Entry bans
- Work visas
- Public charge
- Red tape
- Immigration fees
The Trump administration focused on systematically dismantling programs put in place to protect vulnerable people crossing the border. Biden swiftly reversed some of Trump’s actions, including rebuilding the decades-old U.S. refugee program and creating a task force to reunify families separated at the border.
Trump’s first executive order as president was to ban immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries, a ban he later extended to include additional countries. Biden reversed both those bans as well as one banning new green cards during the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden has yet to rescind any of the Trump administration’s restrictions on work visas.
One of the cornerstones of Trump’s presidential campaign was to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and during his first month in office, he acted on that pledge, ordering construction to begin. Biden issued an executive order halting construction of the wall, calling it “a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”
The public charge rule, which into effect in February 2020, makes it harder for low-income people to obtain green cards. Biden has ordered a review of the rule, but currently the policy is still in effect, impacting those applying for green cards both from within and outside the United States.
A key strategy of the Trump administration was to add barriers to the immigration process, such as increased paperwork and unnecessary green card interviews. So far many of these actions are still in place, although Biden has rescinded two Trump-era actions, including a bid to exclude undocumented immigrants from a key census count.
In a move that alarmed immigration advocates and prospective immigrants, the Trump administration proposed significantly increasing immigration fees for green card and citizenship applications. A federal court blocked the policy just days before it was set to go into effect. Biden is yet to roll back additional Trump policies related to immigration fees.