Joe Biden Embraces Trump Immigration Policy, Frustrating Some Democrats

Damir Mujezinovic

During the 2020 presidential campaign, then Democratic-nominee Joe Biden promised to undo then-President Donald Trump's signature immigration policies.

Biden reaffirmed the promise when he took office, but he has not exactly worked to reverse his predecessors orders.

Most notably, the Biden administration has refused to abandon Title 42, a controversial policy that allows border officials to prevent migrants from seeking asylum by expelling them for "public health reasons."

Biden's decision to continue the controversial practice has frustrated civil liberties organizations and some Democratic lawmakers.

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As reported by The Hill, the Trump administration invoked Title 42 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has utilized Title 42 to expel more migrants than Trump. Under Trump, nearly 460,000 were expelled from March 2020 through January 2021. Since February, the Biden administration has expelled nearly 514,000 people under Title 42.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indefinitely extended the policy, signaling that the Biden administration intends to follow in Trump's footsteps on immigration, despite criticism.

Title 42

Gettyimages | Drew Angerer

Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York said that Title 42 is "no longer a Trump policy because he’s no longer in the White House, so it is a Biden policy, and we should fix it."

"I think because COVID-19 is still very much present in the U.S. and this new variant is spreading so quickly that there's pressure for the government to take these very strict measures that are not necessarily reflective of our values as a party or reflective of the values of the administration. I think it’s a mistake."

Democrats Push Back

In February, more than 60 Democratic lawmakers signed a letter urging Biden to end Title 42, instead of leaving the issue to the courts.

With time, signatories have grown more frustrated. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, who led the letter, stressed in a statement that "there is no reason why the administration needs to leave this issue to the courts."

"It can single-handedly repeal the Title 42 order and help craft a more humane asylum system that is consistent with our nation's values and our obligations under international law," she said.


After unsuccessfully pressuring the Biden administration to end Title 42 for months, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) this week decided to take legal action.

In a press release, the ACLU said it will be "seeking an immediate halt to the policy," which violates "longstanding immigration statutes requiring that asylum seekers receive a full and fair proceeding" in the U.S.

According to policy director at the American Immigration Council Jorge Loweree, the Biden administration is deliberately leaving the issue up to the courts for political reasons.