Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

With the entrance of the Biden administration, we’ll start to see groundbreaking work in regards to the major issues surrounding immigration policy in this country. However, this doesn’t mean we should stop pushing our newly elected officials to uphold their promises of action. In contrast to the policies and hate campaigns started by the Trump administration, President Biden is a breath of fresh air for the immigrant community. After the past four years spent in a headlock, it is understandable why some are overly optimistic about all the change they can expect from Biden. For many who identify with these marginalized communities, it’s easy to get into the mentality that the battle has been won. On the contrary, the battle has only really just begun for championing real change in this country. We should not be afraid to hold our publicly elected officials accountable for the promises they feed the public on the campaign trail. Furthermore, we cannot be too quick to forget how the Obama administration failed to set protection for the millions of uncounted students and laborers. In this newfound age of the pandemic we currently find ourselves in, all undocumented people in the United States under the Biden administration deserve an equal opportunity to receive aid in the form of stimulus checks, healthcare and a set pathway to citizenship. 

Accountability in politics has never been more important, and pressuring elected officials to hold up their side of the deal when it comes to policymaking is crucial. Coming off a period of mass deportations and blatantly racist immigration policies, we cannot afford to get too comfortable. Under this new administration, we will be presented with positive and effective immigration policies. We have already seen this in action with some of the executive orders President Biden signed on his first day in office. Progress is evident ranging from ending the ban on U.S entry from majority-Muslim countries to revising immigration enforcement policies. Additionally, President Biden also strengthened the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act and pulled funds from the Trump border wall. This rapid movement from the Biden administration to fix the mess that Trump left behind is admirable. But before we start to aimlessly praise President Biden, it’s important that we first look back at the legacy of the former Obama administration immigration policies 

When discussing immigration policies it’s imperative we look back at the work done under the Obama administration. Furthermore, it’s important we understand just how much harm the former administration had on these immigrant communities. It has been reported that over 3 million people were deported under Obama. These mass deportations left hundreds of communities devastated and in fear for their future. Millions of people who came in search of a better future not only for themselves, but for their families, were ultimately turned away from the American dream. Unlike the detentions and deportations under Trump, the deportations under Obama were not as heavily criticized during the height of his administration and often overlooked. As a result, it’s only fair to associate these mass deportations with Biden as he was the sitting vice president. Under both Democratic and Republican-controlled governments, the immigrant community has suffered. Therefore, we can’t allow the past to repeat itself and the American people should remain vigilant in addition to maintaining their optimism. 

The pandemic has revealed that all undocumented people in the United States should receive the proper care they rightly deserve, from the thousands of students currently under the protection of DACA to the farmer laborers who have not stopped working throughout the past year. These families need to be assured that real help is on its way. In fact, it’s important to know that President Biden is planning on sending his U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 bill to Congress. The bill would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary legal status, giving them a more transparent and accessible pathway to citizenship. 

Under this new administration, we have a higher probability of achieving real long-lasting constrictive immigration policy reform. If passed, bills like the U.S. Citizenship Act would be a substantial step forward for the immigrant rights movement. However, we cannot allow our elected officials to fall short on their promises. We can’t be too quick to forget how they failed to ensure security in the past. We must hold them accountable and apply pressure every step of the way to further advocate for the undocumented community so that all of them can receive the aid and protection they so rightly deserve.  

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