In the first hundred hours of Joe Biden’s presidency, Biden launched a wave of executive actions aimed at undoing the legacy of his conservative predecessor, Donald Trump. At the time, many of these actions succeeded in reducing or outright eliminating Trump’s immigration, climate and public health policies, leading many mainstream media to feature Biden’s victory. like the dawn of a new era. But as Biden continues to maintain and, in some cases, expand Trump-era policies and practices, falling short of many of his campaign promises, there is little evidence that this new era will arrive.
Biden’s failure to stick to his agenda is especially true when it comes to immigration, an issue on which the president has reinforced a number of Trump-era remnants.
Notably, the president chose to extend one of Trump’s most draconian border policies, “Stay in Mexico,” which requires all asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their scheduled court date. ‘immigration. The policy, enacted in January 2019, forces thousands of migrants to live for months in squalid encampments and shelters along the border, which are notoriously plagued by gang violence.
In October 2019, then-presidential candidate Biden lambasted Trump for his use of “Stay in Mexico”, saying during a debate that Trump was “the first president in the history of the United States of America who [said] anyone seeking asylum must do so in another country.”
“This has never happened before in America,” Biden said. “They sit in misery on the other side of the river.”
Upon taking office, the president apparently kept his word on the matter, rescinding the policy in January. But after a Texas judge in August ordered the rule reinstated, Biden did little to retaliate, Vox noted, and in fact broadened the scope of the policy in some ways.
RELATED: Court Orders Biden to Reboot Trump’s ‘Stay in Mexico’ – But He Didn’t Have to Make It Worse
For one thing, Biden’s version of the policy sets out clear individual asylum cases within six months — the same time frame set by Trump. Biden also now allows border agents to determine whether a migrant has a “reasonable possibility” of facing danger in Mexico. But while 85-90% of program enrollees say they fear harm, reports The Washington Post, only 10-15% face a “reasonable possibility” of facing danger.
Most alarming is the fact that Biden actually expanded the eligibility requirements for the program, as reported by BuzzFeed News. Under Trump, only migrants from Spanish-speaking countries, including Brazil, qualified for the program. But under Biden, asylum seekers from any country in the Western Hemisphere will be sent back to Mexico. This means that Haitians, for example, who speak mainly Haitian Creole, will be sent to Mexico to await the hearing, where the dominant language is Spanish.
This expansion “goes beyond good faith implementation of the court order,” a Biden appointee told BuzzFeed News. “When you add new populations… you intentionally implement a program that you know is largely indistinguishable from the previous one and you put more populations into it.”
Sadly, eliminating “Stay in Mexico” isn’t the only immigration promise Biden has broken.
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During the campaign, Biden pledged to raise Trump’s refugee cap from 15,000 to 125,000. But while the cap was eventually raised to 125,000 last September after months of incremental pressure, Biden didn’t welcomed a meager 11,411 in 2021, which the Post says is the lowest admissions level since 1980.
Nor did the president scrap Title 42, a little-known public health policy Trump used to mass deport immigrants from the United States over COVID-19 concerns. Democrats and human rights groups have widely condemned the rule because it offers migrants no legal recourse to enter. In addition, dozens of doctors and epidemiologists, including the president’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, have strongly questioned the scientific basis of the policy. Just last month, the Biden administration vigorously defended Title 42 citing COVID risks, even though the U.S. release of the Omicron variant was already well underway.
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“The Title 42 ordinance is not and never has been a matter of public health. Rather, it represents a cynical manipulation of public health arguments to advance immigration control political policies,” said Dr. Ron Waldman, professor emeritus at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. , George Washington University. “Despite President Biden’s promises to end the previous administration’s harmful immigration practices, his administration, acting through the [CDC]has fully embraced, defended and utilized this inhumane policy for a year now.”
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On immigration, it’s also hard to ignore the fact that the Biden administration has refused to right the wrongs of Trump’s most draconian border policy: family separation.
Shortly after taking office, the president established a family reunification task force designed to reunite the roughly 5,500 migrant families who had been separated under Trump. But as of last November, the Biden administration had brought together only about 30, according to Vice News.
Worse still, the Justice Department pulled out of months-long settlement negotiations over compensation for affected families. In November, Biden rejected the idea of paying $450,000 to families who will likely suffer the lifelong trauma of temporary or permanent separation.
“It’s not going to happen,” Biden said at a press conference at the time, calling a Wall Street Journal report alluding to the $450,000 payments “garbage.”
The DOJ specifically argues that families are not entitled to government payments under the Federal Tort Claims Act, a 1946 federal law that allows individuals to sue the US government for personal injuries, such as psychological trauma. and physical, caused by agents of the state. To make its point, Vox notes, the White House claimed that Trump’s separation policy — which Biden once called “a weapon against desperate mothers, fathers and children seeking safety and a better life” – was legal.
RELATED: Biden Admin Could Pay Over $1 Billion to Separated Migrant Families Under Trump
In 2019, a government watchdog found that separated children received little or no mental health support despite “more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress disorder than children who don’t.” ‘were not separated’.
“There is no amount of money, or anything really, that can ever do something like this,” Conchita Cruz, co-executive director of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, told Vox.
While immigration is undoubtedly one particular area of failure when it comes to rectifying Trump-era policies, it’s far from the only one considering Biden’s approach. in terms of climate change.
At the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in November, President promised “Demonstrate to the world that the United States is not only back at the table but hopefully leading by the power of our example.
But after that strong commitment, the president quickly proceeded to open more than 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to auction for oil and gas drilling – the largest type of sale in Gulf history. from Mexico. Initially, Biden claimed the auction was court-ordered because of a June court ruling that forced Biden to lift his moratorium on drilling, a pause put in place last January. But according to The Guardian, no court ruling actually compelled the government to hold an auction.
“[The Department of Interior] had a lot of discretion on whether to hold this lease sale and they chose to do it anyway,” Brettny Hardy, senior lawyer at Earthjustice, told the Guardian. “We don’t have a good answer as to whether why they are doing this. It’s problematic and disappointing.”
RELATED: The Biden administration says its Gulf drilling spree was court-ordered. It was not
As a presidential candidate, Biden also pledged to ban drilling on all federal lands. But his administration has apparently flip-flopped on that promise, approving more oil and gas contracts on federal lands than Trump, according to a Public Citizen report. As Post reported in November, Biden authorized 35% more drilling permits in the first year of his presidency than Trump in the same period.
“Biden’s runaway drilling approvals are a spectacular failure of climate leadership,” Taylor McKinnon, senior public lands campaign manager for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “To avoid catastrophic climate change, the extraction of new fossil fuels must end, but Biden is running in the opposite direction.”