Speed Reads

policy delay

Biden team says it won't be able to immediately reverse Trump's immigration policies

President-elect Joe Biden is likely to break his central campaign promise around immigration.

In an interview with Spanish Wire Service EFE, incoming Biden advisers Susan Rice and Jake Sullivan backtracked from pledges to quickly dismantle President Trump's immigration system, The Washington Post reports. While domestic policy adviser Rice said Biden will eventually implement executive orders to ease up on immigration enforcement and begin accepting asylum seekers again, they'll "need time" to do so.

Trump implemented dozens of harsh immigration policies throughout his presidency, including drastically cutting refugee admissions and, recently, using a CDC rule to rapidly expel migrants amid the pandemic. Biden promised to reverse many of those rules, but because they had atrophied America's immigration infrastructure, experts noted Biden would need time to rebuild the system before ending Trump's agenda.

Rice acknowledged that reality in her interview, saying "migrants and asylum seekers absolutely should not believe those in the [southern border] region peddling the idea that the border will suddenly be fully open to process everyone on Day 1. It will not." Rice added that "it will take months to develop the capacity that we will need to reopen fully." Among the rules that won't immediately be reversed are the pandemic rule and Trump's Migration Policy Protocols, which force migrants crossing the border to stay in Mexico, often in dangerous border camps, as they await immigration court hearings.

The statements from Biden's team come in contrast to what he promised throughout his 2020 campaign. Biden pledged to "address the Trump-created humanitarian crisis on our border" starting "day one" of his presidency, including by ending the practice of "deny[ing] asylum to people fleeing persecution and violence." Kathryn Krawczyk