Things That Matter

New Rules From Biden Administration Could Greatly Change Life For Migrants And Undocumented Residents

President Biden was elected to the highest office in the land with high expectations – especially when it came to reforming the nation’s immigration system that has long been used as a cruel and inhumane tool against the most vulnerable in our community.

Many hoped the new president would help bring sweeping reform and with it dignity and compassion. But that is yet to happen as made evident in so many cases, including the recent example of border patrol agents using horses and whips to control the flow of Haitian refugees.

But new rules from the Biden administration would finally help to bring new guidance to ICE and Border Patrol in their treatment of migrants and refugees.

The Biden administration has issued new guidance to ICE and Border Patrol.

President Biden has been under fire from both sides of the aisle for his handling of immigration issues since taking over from his predecessor. Many had hoped he would bring with him new reforms that would bring compassion and stability to the system.

So far, little has changed. Immigrants and refugees continue to be turned away at the border by the tens of thousands while those who make it into the U.S. face detention and even unfathomable abuse at the hand of Border Patrol agents.

In response to the criticism, the administration announced last week new guidance that requires officials only pursue migrants who have recently crossed into the country or those who are deemed a threat to public safety. This would reduce fear for so many who have been living in the country for an extended period of time.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a statement saying that the new policy was based on the reality that the U.S. can’t go after all people in the country without legal status and shouldn’t try because many “have been contributing members of our communities for years.”

What exactly is the new policy of the administration and how does it affect our community?

Although it remains to be seen if on-the-ground agents actually follow the administration’s new guidance, this rule should have a major impact on migrants already living in the U.S. Under the previous administration’s guidance, ICE agents were completely free to arrest anybody that they encountered who was in the country without authorization.

But under the new guidance, agents can only focus on immigrants who are considered a serious threat to public safety or those who just recently arrived in the U.S. The rules also say agents should avoid focusing on those who are very young or very old.

Agents would also be prohibited from arresting and seeking to deport someone in retaliation for exercising their First Amendment rights, such as joining a protest.

Despite the sweeping changes, not everyone is on-board with the new rules.

Of course, Republicans quickly pounced at the new rules, with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)) saying on Twitter that President Biden was “welcoming” the migrants who have crossed and would now promise those already in the country that “they may stay in the U.S. without repercussions.”

But even some immigration advocates are skeptical of the shift in policy.

“This policy is only going to be as good as the results,” Jacinta Gonzalez, senior campaign organizer of Mijente told the AP. “If detention numbers continue to rise, as deportations continue to happen, if we still see human rights abuses at the border, this policy won’t mean anything.”

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