Biden Rolling Back Trump’s Efforts to Restrict Immigration

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President Joe Biden plans to give amnesty to millions of migrants and their employers.

President Joe Biden plans to give amnesty to millions of migrants and their employers. He will give 11 million people who are currently illegal aliens the potential to obtain citizenship, along with a range of other reforms that will thwart all of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to restrict immigration.

Prior to the 2020 election, Trump received plenty of criticism for his immigration policies. Negative emotion was aroused in many American voters from images of children being separated from their parents and cages filled with immigrants at the border. Biden now gets to try and play the role of savior, as he will try to press forward with his immigration policies that some describe as “the most sweeping and comprehensive immigration package since President Reagan’s Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted legal status to 3 million people who were in the country without documentation.”

Although his stance on immigration may have garnered him many votes, Biden will be challenged to quickly produce any major reforms, as the pandemic, the economic downturn, and the upcoming senate impeachment will likely contribute to a delay. Because of the pandemic, many migrants are now turned down immediately at border entries, and Biden has not pledged to reverse that policy right away, according to Reuters.

“Migrant caravans have been on the move in Central America, with some aiming to arrive at the southwest border after Biden’s inauguration. Advocates worry that the pandemic will make it difficult for border officials and migrant shelters to handle large numbers of people,” Reuters reported. Biden will raise the cap of refugees from 15,000 to 125,000, try to rescind the travel ban that Trump initiated with Muslim countries, and try to cease the construction of the wall along the U.S. — Mexico border. 

‘Put bluntly, immigration turns out to be just another income redistribution program’

In a Politico report by George J. Borjas, professor of economics and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, Borjas describes how immigration causes harm to working-class minorities in the U.S.

“Both low- and high-skilled natives are affected by the influx of immigrants. But because a disproportionate percentage of immigrants have few skills, it is low-skilled American workers, including many blacks and Hispanics, who have suffered most from this wage dip. The monetary loss is sizable. The typical high school dropout earns about $25,000 annually. 

Migrants are on the move again. (Image: Getty Images)

“According to census data, immigrants admitted in the past two decades lacking a high school diploma have increased the size of the low-skilled workforce by roughly 25 percent. As a result, the earnings of this particularly vulnerable group dropped by between $800 and $1,500 each year,” said Borjas. “Immigrants receive government assistance at higher rates than natives. The higher cost of all the services provided to immigrants and the lower taxes they pay (because they have lower earnings) inevitably implies that on a year-to-year basis immigration creates a fiscal hole of at least $50 billion — a burden that falls on the native population.

“What does it all add up to? The fiscal burden offsets the gain from the $50 billion immigration surplus, so it’s not too farfetched to conclude that immigration has barely affected the total wealth of natives at all. Instead, it has changed how the pie is split, with the losers — the workers who compete with immigrants, many of those being low-skilled Americans — sending a roughly $500 billion check annually to the winners. Those winners are primarily their employers. And the immigrants themselves come out ahead, too. Put bluntly, immigration turns out to be just another income redistribution program.” 

Borjas acknowledges that there are two sides to the debate, and that an increase in migrants who provide cheap labour provides a major economic gain for the companies they work for.

Although it is impossible to know the exact number of illegal immigrants in the U.S., Pew Research made the estimate of 10.5 million in 2017, this was down from the all-time high set in 2007, which was 12.2 million. The unemployment rate reported in December was 6.7 percent, which accounts for 10.7 million citizens. In addition to Biden’s immigration reforms, the president has also said that he will try to increase the federal minimum wage to $15, which some in congress have estimated will wipe out 1.3 million jobs. 

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  • David Wagner is a University of Manitoba graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion in Sociology. He is interested in the psychology of religious and ideological belief and the relationship between religions and the state in totalitarian countries.