President Biden keeps migrant facilities open, causing backlash over immigration policies


David Cease

Facing a mounting border crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden has come under fire for his immigration policies.

David Cease, Segments Editor

Among many of Biden’s campaign promises was the assurance he would resolve the recent poor treatment of migrants at the southern border via keeping children and families in holding facilities. However, Biden has not only failed to shut down these facilities, but he’s also notified people of a pre-coronavirus-level reopening. 

Biden attributes a rising number of minors crossing the US-Mexico border to “extraordinary circumstances.” This has sparked significant criticism and fear of another president with empty promises and criticism of immigration policy. 

“In the beginning, I felt like he was doing amazing, but I’m [now] disappointed. I think he could be doing a lot more to address the issues at the border,” said Chloe Peissner (‘22)

On average, children in migrant facilities stay in Border Patrol custody for over three days at an overwhelming capacity. The average time spent in Border Patrol facilities, which aren’t designed to hold children, was 77 hours (longer than the 72 permitted under US law). 

This, in addition to the fact that President Biden has not held a press conference for 50 days, doesn’t assure Americans or Amador students that the president is on top of his game.

“He’s doing well with the vaccine distribution, but [not as well with] focusing on systemic injustice in the country or resolving a lot of the issues Trump left behind… I mean, ideally, they’d be able to address all issues, but it seems like they either can’t or won’t at the moment. It seems like a lot of people forgot he was only marginally better than Trump – he was just the better of two evils,” said Malhaar Nagaraj (‘22).

For years, immigration has been one of the most polarizing topics in American politics. Many Republicans pursue overly harsh policies, whereas progressive Democrats are seen as out of step with wider American opinion. As president, Biden bears the challenge of advocating his beliefs while still trying to maintain unity. 

Things are looking up, though.

On Thursday, House Democrats approved two separate bills on immigration. This marks the first time Democrats voted on a pathway for undocumented immigrants’ citizenship since Biden’s presidency began.

In the first vote, the House passed HR 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California. This act provides a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants known as dreamers, making 4.4 million people eligible for permanent residence. 

The House then voted to pass HR 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation from Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Newhouse. This bill will permit farmworkers and their spouses and children to earn legal status through continued employment in the agricultural sector, and it would make changes to the H-2A agricultural guest worker program.