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Immigration Law

Biden at the One-Year Mark: A Greater Change in Direction on Immigration Than Is Recognized

Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter, MPI, Jan. 19, 2022

"While Donald Trump’s presidency is perceived as being the most active on immigration, touching nearly every aspect of the U.S. immigration system, President Joe Biden’s administration has far outpaced his predecessor in the number of executive actions taken during his first year in office. Yet the Biden administration’s pace of change has largely gone unnoticed, with immigrant-rights activists accusing it of going too slowly to unravel Trump actions and conservatives harshly critical of what they see as inattention to rising flows at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) logged 296 executive actions on immigration taken by the administration as of January 19—one day before Biden’s first anniversary in office. By contrast, the Trump administration carried out 86 executive actions during its first year and 472 over its four-year term, MPI analysts have found. Given this pace of activity, why does the perception exist that the Biden administration has done little on immigration? This is largely because the media, political pundits, and activists have focused on the lack of progress on two of the president’s key campaign promises: legalization for the country’s unauthorized immigrant population and rebuilding an asylum system at the U.S.-Mexico border that was largely dismantled during the prior administration."