Image Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Rio Grande Valley Sector
During his campaign, Joe Biden made many promises to resolve issues surrounding immigration and border policy. While his administration has certainly acted on a lot of these promises, a good portion of them remain unfulfilled or incomplete. A select few have even been completely disregarded by the administration.
One of the biggest upsets from the Trump administration was the separation of migrant children from their families. The Biden campaign made the task of reuniting these families one of their top priorities during the election. They established a task force dedicated to finding the families of these children. However, as of April 2021, none of the families separated under Trump have been reunited. While it seems easy to blame the Biden administration for this major shortcoming, the reason that no families have been reunited stems from problems during the Trump administration.
The Trump administration was separating migrant children from their parents, and they were doing it irresponsibly. Federal authorities removed children from their families without keeping track of them, making it extremely difficult to actually find the childrens’ parents. Officials from the Department of Homeland Security stated that a lot of the previous files contained missing information, incorrect dates, and duplicate information. The process of going through the files is time consuming because it’s manual, but this matter has been left unsolved for far too long already despite its urgency.
The Biden administration also has another approach to the immigration problem at the southern border. They want to decrease the push factors that are forcing people to leave their homes in Mexico and Central America. Biden promised to arrange diplomatic talks with leaders from both areas.
Vice President Kamala Harris was set to lead the diplomatic efforts to address the problems that cause migration. Given the recent surges in migration, these efforts should be of utmost urgency for the administration, and yet, there are no meetings between these parties at any time that we can expect. However, one thing to commend from Biden, is that he has asked congress for $4 billion dollars in aid for the countries. Instead of giving the aid to the governments, the aid will primarily go to communities and international organizations because of the fear of corruption. Despite this, no action taken by the administration regarding a potential summit has been close to enough.
The conditions in migrant detention centers are still not ideal– especially amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Photos taken from detention facilities show hundreds of migrants in crowded rooms with nothing to separate them other than plastic curtains. They’re seen sleeping on mats with mylar blankets. Most of the migrants seen are children who arrived at the border unaccompanied by an adult. No one deserves to be kept in such an environment and the Biden administration needs to drastically improve the conditions of the detention centers in order for them to be humane.
Despite the numerous unfulfilled promises from Joe Biden regarding immigration, it’s difficult to place the blame solely on the administration since there are a plethora of circumstances beyond their control.