As President Biden has relented and made his first trip to the border, I want to be optimistic. I thought the Trump administration’s policy on our southern border was inhumane, and I have been disappointed with how little has changed since Biden has come in. While he has dispatched Vice President Harris to the border with the message, “do not come!” and the aim of dealing with root causes, we continue to see rising numbers of migrants at our border.
*Expanded title 42 (a policy meant to deport migrants during the pandemic bypassing immigration procedures) after a court ruling adding more countries expediting deportations.
*Leaned in on the remain in Mexico policy (making migrants stop at the first safe country to seek asylum)
*Increased the ability for migrants to apply in their home countries instead of swarming the border or making a dangerous trip.
*Increased Refugee resettlement from the western hemisphere.
*Expanded parole process for Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haitians, and Cubans
I largely agree with these policies, but they aren’t enough. Part of this is because of the economic, political, and social incentives for migrants to come to the US. Migrants see the chance of a better life in our country. For migrants, the tradeoff of better-paying jobs, and safer communities, balanced against the risk of the trip and possible deportation, incarceration, or even death is worth it. As long as that is true, migration will remain elevated. So that is why it is important, to be honest, Haiti, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua 3 of which have US lead sanctions placed on them, and the remaining one recently had its president assassinated. We can not change many of the reasons migrants come to the US in the short term but impacts the margins, dropping sanctions, increasing economic engagement, and giving humanitarian aid will help stabilize the region, decreasing migration.
Until we can stabilize the region with more economic engagement, some level of aid to governments so they can stabilize their countries, and stop meddling in their affairs we will not fix this issue. I hope President Biden’s visit to the border spotlights that he along with congress can and must work to fix our immigration crisis.