Biden vs. Trump on immigration and border security, in 12 episodes

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Immigration is a polarizing issue in US politics, and will likely play a central role in November’s presidential election. Illegal border crossings have topped 2 million a year on average since 2021, an all-time high, and Republicans are eager to run against President Biden’s border security record.

Polls show widespread public disapproval of Biden’s handling of the surge, and former president Donald Trump, who also faced criticism for his immigration policies, is running for a post on promises to crack and destroy millions of people.

Trump’s opposition to a recently proposed bipartisan $118 billion border bill, linking border reforms to aid to Ukraine, influenced many Republican lawmakers to reject it. It also dealt a potentially fatal blow to the possibility of new laws and tools that could reduce illegal crossings and ease pressures on cities with terrible shelters. Biden may have to manage these issues without the support of Congress while running for re-election. He could try blame Republicans if crossings spiral again and the situation spirals out of control.

Here are 12 charts showing the state of the immigration system and the southern border under Biden compared to Trump:

Illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border

Illegal border crossings soared in the months after Biden took office and immediately rolled back many Trump-era restrictions. Biden warned that he would still enforce immigration laws, and temporarily maintained Trump’s pandemic policy known as Title 42 that allowed authorities to quickly deport border crossers.

The number of people arrested by the US Border Patrol has reached the highest levels in the agency’s 100-year history under Biden, averaging 2 million a year.

During the president’s first days in office, his administration announced that it would not use the Title 42 policy to turn back unaccompanied minors who arrive without a parent or guardian. Their numbers began to rise almost immediately, and images of migrant children and teenagers crowded shoulder to shoulder in detention facilities prompted the administration’s first border crisis. Soon after, Biden appointed Vice President Harris to lead a new effort to address the “root causes” of Central American immigration.

Teenagers and children crossing without their parents are still reaching the highest numbers. Families and single adults have also been reaching historic numbers.

Migrants arriving across the US-Mexico border come from a wider variety of countries than ever before. In 2019, the busiest year for border crossings under Trump, about 80 percent of migrants arrested in the US were from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. Last year these three countries accounted for less than half of all border crossings.

Migrants from Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Senegal and Mauritania – along with other countries in Africa, Europe and Asia – are crossing from Mexico in numbers that US authorities have never seen. For example, 14,965 migrants from China arrived across the southern border between October and December, according to Border Patrol data, up from 29 over the same period in 2020. The Border Patrol encountered 9,518 migrants from the -India in the same period of three months, compared to 56 in the same period in 2020.

The challenge of processing, detaining and deporting migrants from such a wide range of countries has put pressure on the Biden administration, which has released migrants into the United States when resources are overwhelmed and requests for humanitarian protection cannot be resolved quickly.

Cancellation, return and cancellation

Since Title 42 expired in May, Biden officials have deported or returned about 500,000 people to Mexico and other countries, surpassing Trump’s totals, which averaged about 500,000 per year. But Mr. Biden’s higher numbers are partly due to many more illegal crossings.

Trump implemented the Title 42 policy at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 to quickly deport border crossers without giving them the opportunity to seek US protection. The Trump administration expelled most people who entered the United States and border crossings remained relatively low.

Biden kept the policy in place and ended up deporting five times as many crusaders as Trump did, mainly because more migrants tried to enter the United States during the period between Biden’s inauguration and May 2023 when he finished Title 42.

The Biden administration has released more than 2.3 million border crossers into the United States since 2021. The gap between the number of migrants brought into CBP custody compared to the number persons who are repatriated or deported on the extension of each of the last three years.

Immigration enforcement within the US

Border enforcement was among several policies that carried over from Trump’s term to Biden’s.

On Biden’s first day in office, his administration ordered a freeze on most people arrested and deported from within the United States by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. involved US Customs (ICE). Trump had promised to deport “millions” of immigrants during his term but fell well short of that goal, despite giving ICE officials wide latitude to go after anyone without legal status in the United States. Deportations of immigrants arrested by ICE averaged about 80,000 per year during Trump’s term.

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security issued new directives to ICE officials in 2021 ordering them to prioritize national security threats, serious or violent criminals and recent pedestrians. Workplace enforcement – “raiding” – was stopped.

Deportations of immigrants arrested by ICE have dropped to about 35,000 a year since Biden took office. Biden officials say they are doing a better job targeting criminals who pose a threat to public safety, rather than detaining law-abiding immigrant workers. .

Parole, in US immigration law, is an executive power that allows the government to waive time for immigrants who are not eligible for a visa. Biden has relied heavily on parole powers as the basis for his broader strategy to expand opportunities for immigrants to enter the United States legally while tightening penalties against those who will be crossed illegally.

The Trump administration has used parole at times to ease overcrowding and help CBP process migrants more quickly. But Biden’s exercise of authority is the most extensive in US history. Republicans say his administration has overstepped its powers and parole was supposed to be used sparingly on a case-by-case basis.

Biden officials say they have implemented a parole program in January 2023 that will allow 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela fleeing political repression and turmoil economic has reduced the limit in. Fewer Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans crossed the border illegally last year, but the program was less successful than Venezuelans.

Trump halted US refugee admissions and set the cap at 15,000 in 2021 – the lowest since the 1980 Refugee Act. Biden promised to rebuild the program when he took office. While Biden has admitted more refugees than Trump has, his administration still falls short of the 125,000 annual cap he has set, in part due to so many people arriving at the borders.

Citizenship applications soared during Trump’s campaign and while in office after he promised to curb immigration as president. By the end of his tenure, however, nationalism faltered amid backlogs and financial struggles at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that processes applications. In 2020, his administration instituted a new citizenship test, which advocates said was more difficult to pass.

After Biden took office, he brought back the old test and encouraged more immigrants to apply for US citizenship.

About 9 million legal permanent residents are eligible to become citizens, which allows them to serve on juries, apply for federal jobs and vote in US elections.

Nationalism climbed during Biden’s first two years in office but fell last year. The number of new citizens taking the oath is still higher than in the Trump administration.

The US immigration court system – a branch of the Justice Department – was facing a huge backlog of cases when Biden took office, and the backlog has nearly doubled since then to nearly 2.5 million cases. to come Many migrants are seeking asylum, humanitarian protection for people fleeing persecution. Some of the migrants who recently crossed the border and sought protection are being booked for court hearings more than five years away.

The system’s inability to resolve cases quickly has become an incentive for further illegal migration, as border crossers with weak asylum claims can file for protection and spend years living and work in the United States before they have to worry about the export risk.

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