President Trump entered the presidency following a campaign that was explicitly anti-immigrant, and took his initial action to upend the nation’s immigration system in his very first week of office.
Since then, the reforms his administration has introduced via executive orders, presidential proclamations, agency procedural changes, rewrites of regulations, immigration judge appointments, and revisions of case law by the Attorney General, have been sweeping, leaving virtually no aspect of immigration law untouched.
While the “border wall” was designed to showcase his administration’s attempts to deter entry by those without visas, his attacks on legal immigration to the U.S. have far exceeded what many expected, and all while bypassing Congress, the only entity with Constitutional authority to craft federal statutes.
The administration has seized on COVID-19 to accomplish even more extreme measures that may be couched as “temporary” but are likely to be extended, including blocking virtually all legal immigration. Administration actions now prevent U.S. citizens and permanent residents from being reunited with their immediate families, employers from accessing the permanent and temporary or seasonal talent they need to stay competitive, refugees from resettling, and asylum seekers from requesting safety from persecution.
The Migration Policy Institute has issued a July 2020 report that catalogues the vast array of changes comprehensively. As the MPI summarizes,
Now well into its fourth year, the administration has undertaken more than 400 executive actions on immigration, spanning everything from border and interior enforcement, to refugee resettlement and the asylum system, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the immigration courts, and vetting and visa processes.
While there is no question that the U.S. immigration system has been badly in need of modernization, the changes made by this administration go far beyond needed reforms, leaning instead towards remaking the country into an unrecognizable one that is no longer a “nation of immigrants.”
Learn more by reading the MPI report here.