For many people, it seems easy to blame Donald Trump for the cruelties of U.S. immigration and border policies. But recent months have shown that the Democratic Party under President Biden is unwilling and unable to fundamentally change the inhumane practices that preceded them.
The Biden administration is continuing to detain large numbers of immigrants, many of them children, in crowded border detention facilities, and deport many as well. But it’s worth remembering that the Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama played a major role in shaping Trump’s and Biden’s immigration policies. President Clinton in 1996 signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act which enlarged the Border Patrol, criminalized many types of immigration, and greatly expanded deportation procedures. His administration also began double and triple-fencing of the border and the use of infrared technologies to hunt migrants. Obama, often praised for creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect young people from deportation, actually deported more people than any other U.S. President, and encouraged the idea that some immigrants were “good” while others were “bad” and, therefore, to be treated as criminals. Obama simply applied Clinton’s “tough on crime” policies to immigration and border control. And in 2006, then-Senators Hillary Clinton and Obama supported the Fence Act, which was never fully funded but was intended to build a wall across the entire border.
The Democrats helped create the system that Trump used and now Biden oversees. The border crisis is a problem of the system, and the Democrats are an integral part of that system. Don’t hold your breath for them to change.