When It Comes To Joe Biden, Immigration Advocates Are Cautiously Optimistic

Though the president-elect has pledged to roll back some of the Trump administration’s most aggressive policies, advocates say the Obama administration shouldn’t be Biden’s model.

By Michael Marks & Shelly BrisbinDecember 2, 2020 12:24 pm,

Political watchers are looking for any clues about how a Biden administration is likely to address immigration policy. 

Silvia Foster-Frau spoke to immigration advocates to get a sense for what they’re hoping for, and what they’re expecting. She covers immigration and border affairs for the San Antonio Express-News. She told Texas Standard that advocates are “heartened” by pledges to roll back Trump administration policies that capped refugee admittance and attempted to restrict the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Biden has also pledged to create a task force focused on reunifying migrant children with their parents. 

But advocates are also concerned about the family detention centers in Texas created back during the Obama administration.

“I think it makes them a little wary because there’s this sense that Biden is kind of going to go back to the status quo of the Obama era, unraveling things that the Trump administration put in place, but perhaps simply returning to the Obama-era initiatives,” Foster-Frau said. “And for them, that era was fraught with a lot of work.”

Foster-Frau said one advocate wants Biden to be as pro-immigrant as President Donald Trump was perceived to be anti-immigrant. 

Biden’s selection of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security received mixed reactions from immigration advocates. Mayorkas would be the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead DHS. He served in the Obama administration in a role that was key to implementing the popular DACA program. 

“But again, he represents part of this establishment that was there before, and I think that’s being [viewed] with some caution,” Foster-Frau said.

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