A Revival of Hope: Biden’s Immigration Policy


Maria Cifuentes, Reporter

In the beginning of March, there was an upsurge in the number of immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico southern border, about 170,000 people, including families and children, who were completely alone. The number of immigrants searching for an opportunity and traveling to the United States in order to achieve the American Dream is increasing. 

Most immigrants that have been arriving originate from Honduras and Guatemala. Many believe that the rapid increase of immigration is due to President Biden’s more welcoming immigration policy. Republicans, in particular, are accusing Biden and blaming the issue on his softer policy. 

Immigrants have expressed that their decision to risk their lives and their sudden urge to enter the U.S. is not only based on this. They are fleeing their home countries and leaving everything behind because of their corrupt governments, climate change, and violent crime. In Central America, deadly hurricanes have left millions displaced. These immigrants struggle to live through each day in their countries. There is a lack of food, water, and jobs. Therefore, they arrive at our borders in search of an opportunity to improve their lives and give their families a chance to survive. 

They arrive quietly and quickly,  taking their first steps in the land of freedom. They drop to the ground crying and praying, full of gratefulness. They have finally made it and although many could be sent back home, the ability to even reach the U.S. is an accomplishment and provides them hope that a new life is not completely out of reach. 

The increase in the number of children and teenage migrants arriving at the U.S. border has caused a problem that must be addressed. 18,700 children have arrived unaccompanied, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These children are likely allowed to stay and many are given the opportunity to enter the U.S, but this large amount has necessitated the government opening more temporary housing facilities. 

During Trump’s administration when the pandemic began, these facilities were shrunken, and there was limited space due to social distancing. But now, President Biden is faced with dealing with this flood of adults and children. 

The Biden administration has not fully released their plan to address the situation and they are continuing to face alarming issues, especially with migrant children. Unaccompanied children and teenagers first are placed in border jails and they are not allowed to stay there for more than 3 days. They must be moved to shelters, housing facilities, or group homes. But the large influx of migrant children has caused a terrible issue; these children are being held in border jails for longer periods of time since the housing facilities are at full capacity. These border jails are not designed to house children, therefore these kids are being affected negatively. Their emotional and physical states are already weak and many are traumatized. Many of these children are not able to get medical care, schooling, and psychological services for long periods of time, since there is simply not enough space to transfer them. 

Democratic politicians believe that the immigration system has been broken under Trump’s administration.They claim that his negative view of immigration and his strict policy left Biden to pick up the pieces, and is causing many young immigrants to suffer. 

Biden has decided to focus his solution on providing more bed space and getting the children out of border jails as quickly as possible. He is focusing on providing more staff and capacity in order to rebuild what was once a welcoming immigration policy. 

Biden has also stated that he plans to install immigration triage facilities and shelters in the struggling countries where most immigrants are originating from. This will hopefully decrease the number of immigrants, including children, saturating the border. Biden wishes to provide economic aid to these nations, but this is risky because most of these nations have corrupt governments that will take the money and use it for their own benefit. 

Under Donald Trump’s administration, illegal immigration was strongly opposed and a stricter hand was placed on it. Trump wanted to limit the number of migrants entering the U.S. It was not welcoming at all, and those who had planned to immigrate gave up any hope to start a new life in America. Trump’s administration not only negatively affected immigrants trying to enter our country, but he caused immigrant families living here to become fearful. He authorized the deportation of all types of undocumented immigrants in America. There were no more exemptions. Everyone was at risk of one day waking up and being forced to leave everything and be sent back home to the place they struggled so hard to leave. ICE agents were given the authority to enter homes, workplaces, and even pick them off the streets. They were able to deport anyone with an order of deportation, regardless of whether they had a criminal record or not.

As the daughter of an immigrant family myself, this was a heartbreaking time period. My family knew many people that were being deported and stripped of the entire lives they had built here. During Trump’s administration, America did not feel like the land of the free, especially for my loved ones. We lived in constant fear and lost hope that one day we would truly feel like we belonged here. 

Biden’s attitude towards the current situation feels like a breath of fresh air. Immigrant families that are trying to arrive or that have lived in America for years are seeing this as a sign that maybe things will get better and return to normal. I hope that Biden continues to make America welcoming, that it will one day return to being a place where everyone can find refuge and feel accepted. As they pass through deserts and rivers to arrive here, after a long time, there finally seems to be a light of hope shining on the horizon.