David Bier on “What Biden Got Right on Immigration Policy”
There is much to criticize in the Biden administration’s record on immigration policy, and myself have sometimes been among the critics, especially on the behavior of the administration extension of the cruel evictions of title 42 “public health” immigrants and others migration restrictions harmful in the age of the pandemic. But it’s also important to recognize that Biden has made major improvements to immigration policy and has even – belatedly – begun to scale back some of the appalling policies he himself perpetuated before. At the very least, claims that Biden has mostly just perpetuated Trump’s ultra-restrictionist policies are completely unwarranted.
Cato Institute immigration policy expert David Bier — himself a frequent critic of the administration — said a useful summary of their achievements in this area. The list is long and difficult to summarize. I urge anyone interested in these matters to read (at least skim!) the whole thing.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Biden has now – albeit belatedly – ended nearly all of Trump’s major restrictive innovations, including his anti-Muslim travel bans, restrictions on work visas, mass deportations from Title 42 (which is now set to end on December 21). , although litigation may still prevent this), and much more. And, in his establishment of private refugee sponsorship programs which allow migrants to be admitted much faster and more cheaply than in the moribund traditional refugee system, he went beyond simply repudiating Trump. These innovations, especially United for Ukraine programimprove not only Trump’s policies, but also those of previous administrations.
As Bier notes, there are still many flaws in Biden’s immigration policies. Moreover, most of its beneficial initiatives have the defect of depending largely on the unilateral action of the executive. As such, they could potentially be easily overthrown by a future president, or even by Biden himself, if he found it politically advantageous to do so. Moreover, the administration’s successes on immigration policy should not blind libertarians — or anyone else — to its shortcomings on other issues. Ironically, the same president who (rightly) denounced Trump’s abuse of emergency powers to try to build his border wall, is using similar authoritarian tactics to facilitate the cancellation of student debt.
Nonetheless, Biden deserves considerable credit for the many improvements he has made to immigration policy. Reducing immigration restrictions is one of the great issues of our time. Obstacles to migration are among the most severe restrictions on freedom imposed by Western democracies (including that of current U.S. citizens) and inflict considerable harm on would-be immigrants (many of whomare forcibly condemned to poverty and oppression for life simply because they were born in the wrong place or to the wrong parents) and nativelook alike.