Biden and His Immigration Issues

A court’s rejection of an initial attempt to end the Trump-era policy is Joe Biden’s most immediate problem.

The ever-complicated immigration issue in the U.S. has become a touchstone of the Biden administration. The government faces a complex political situation, restrained by its promises and the constraints imposed by the current situation and the courts, in particular.

This issue became more evident on Oct. 16, when dozens of immigration advocates walked out of a virtual meeting with several of Joe Biden’s top administration officials to protest their decision to reimplement the border policies enacted by the openly anti-immigrant administration of Donald Trump.

Before the beginning of the video meeting with the officials, including the White House Domestic Policy Council for Immigration’s Deputy Director Esther Olavarria, the activists read a statement accusing the administration of “playing politics with human lives” and they said they could no longer “come into these conversations in good conscience.”

The meeting and subsequent walkout were prompted by the administration’s plans to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

The immediate problem for Biden is that a court rejected his initial attempt to end the Trump policy. The administration said it would restart the program that forces migrants to wait in Mexico for their asylum hearings in November.

The judicial decision surprised no one. During his administration, Trump rushed to fill federal judicial positions at the lowest level, such as district judges, and at the highest level, at the Supreme Court, to ensure an ideological —if not partisan— viewpoint.

Trump appointed 226 judges in four years, including 54 in the federal appellate courts and three of the nine Supreme Court justices. By way of comparison, Barack Obama appointed 320 judges in his eight years in office, including 55 federal appellate judges..

This shows that activist groups are seeking to secure favorable rulings on their cases. A liberal group will want their case heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals out West, considered one of the most —if not the most— liberal appellate courts in the country.

On the other hand, conservative groups —especially anti-immigrant and anti-abortion groups— hope to have their cases heard by the federal courts in Texas, where the most conservative judges are seated. Thus, it is no accident that cases seeking to uphold Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy were favorably decided by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas, and upheld last Aug. 24 by the Supreme Court,* where the conservative wing holds six of the nine seats.

The Biden administration appealed the Texas abortion law, but failed to enjoin it, and is obligated to go along with the Texas rule.

However, it is probably easier to negotiate with Mexico and support economic and social programs in Central America than to change the situation in the U.S.

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply