Last month, the Biden administration put forward a new border policy designed to replace an expiring Trump-era order. But they are practically the same policies. The new law denies asylum to undocumented people who enter the U.S. Those who don’t fit the narrow categories imposed by the new law would face immediate deportation. This new law would do so by making the majority of migrants ineligible for asylum, and discourage many more from seeking it.
This law is a direct replacement for the Trump-era health emergency rule, Title 42, imposed during COVID, which allows border authorities to rapidly reject and expel immigrants denied access via Mexico. The Biden administration had promised to repeal such Trump-era laws, but actually extended them. The Biden-era border officials were allowed to use Title 42 to turn away immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, as well as Mexico. Now that Title 42 is set to expire, the Biden administration’s new law, with different details, accomplishes the same goal — to give border authorities the right to expel immigrants as they see fit.
This law creates huge dangers as immigrants are often turned away and deported to the countries that they have fled because of dangerous situations. The U.S., for decades, has put in place policies that undermine the economic independence and stability of nations around the world, and especially in Central and South America. This has led to economic collapse, rampant crime, and lack of jobs. At the same time, the continued use of fossil fuels is accelerating climate destruction, which is having a major impact in Central America, and is another significant factor in forcing migrants to flee their homes in search of survival in the U.S. The U.S. is slamming the door on millions of immigrants who are fleeing conditions created by the U.S.
At the end of the day, Biden’s policy is the same as Trump’s because they are presiding over the same economic system — one that displaces and exploits people, and discards them when they are unnecessary to profit-making. The U.S. economy would not function without the labor of undocumented people, and the desperation that forces them across the border, or the destruction of the countries they are migrating from. Policing the border and making people illegal is part of the regular functioning of capitalism. Trump flaunts his anti-immigrant policies and racism, while Biden promises to defend immigrants while carrying out the same policies. On this score, it is no surprise: Biden is no better than Trump.