Improving the U.S. Immigration System in the First Year of the Biden Administration

T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Donald Kerwin
Date of Publication: 
November, 2020
Source Organization: 
Center for Migration Studies

Between 2016 and 2020, the U.S. immigration system sustained a series of policy changes that severely restricted immigration to the U.S., threatened the livelihoods of immigrants already in the U.S., and cost taxpayers billions of dollars. This report, prepared by the Center for Migration Studies and the New School's Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, recommends specific policy solutions that the incoming Biden administration could enact to reverse the Trump administration’s most harmful policies and further strengthen the U.S. immigration system. The authors consulted 12 immigration experts, whose opinions and analyses inform 12 sets of policy proposals in the report: reforming refugee policy; reforming asylum policy; revoking travel bans; reforming legal immigration processes; preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); limiting immigrant detention; reviewing border enforcement and accountability; restoring meaningful interior enforcement priorities; deprioritizing immigration-related criminal prosecutions; improving legal access and addressing backlogs; reviewing COVID-related policies; and segregating responsibilities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Other recommendations include initiating consultations with Congress to increase refugee admissions in 2021, terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols where asylum-seekers at the U.S. southern border were returned to Mexico to await U.S. asylum hearings, and permitting new registrations for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In pursuing these changes, the authors believe that “President Biden would affirm the fundamental values and principles that animate the U.S. immigration system.” (Kyla Schmitt for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Aleinikoff, T. & Kerwin, D. (2020, November). Improving the U.S. Immigration System in the First Year of the Biden Administration. Center for Migration Studies.