- The Washington Times - Monday, April 26, 2021

President Biden has come out of the box swinging when it comes to immigration, averaging about one new immigration executive action a day during his first 100 days, according to a new analysis Monday.

The 94 actions tallied by the Migration Policy Institute is more than three times the actions taken by President Trump in his 2017 honeymoon period.

The flurry of activity still left Mr. Biden short of his campaign promises, though.

MPI said he had checked off 12 of the 26 immigration actions he’d pledged to take during the first 100 days.

“On the whole, Biden’s first 100 days demonstrate the power that the president has to shift the course of U.S. immigration policy,” said Muzaffar Chishti and Jessica Bolter, the authors of MPI’s analysis.

But Mr. Biden may soon run out of room. Many of the major steps he still wants to take will require Congress to act, the analysts said.

He’ll struggle to get enough support among Republicans to win passage of big bills, in part because of the border situation that many analysts lay at the feet of the president and his immigration actions.

Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee’s government operations subcommittee, said what’s going on at the U.S.-Mexico line is sapping the morale of the Border Patrol and serving as a distraction, leaving gaps in security that smugglers are exploiting.

“While staffing issues have long been a concern, Border Patrol agents tell me that they are now critically understaffed, working longer hours but less time on the line patrolling the border as their attention is diverted to the care and custody of families and children due to the recent migrant surge,” Mr. Hice said in a letter demanding answers from Customs and Border Protection.

A group of Republican senators sent a letter to Mr. Biden directly Monday detailing the horrors they saw during a recent trip to the border.

“There were cages after cages of little boys lying side-by-side, of little girls lying side-by-side, covered with crumpled reflective blankets, and with virtually no space between them,” the senators wrote. “Border Patrol agents were doing their absolute best to care for these children, but these officials are not social workers — they are trained to protect our border. The conditions were, simply put and without exaggeration, inhumane.”

The MPI analysts said the border mess has “overshadowed” what Mr. Biden has done on the policy front, but the changes he’s made — in many cases wiping away policies accumulated over four years of Mr. Trump — will reverberate far more than the immediate border situation.

Those changes include narrowing the aperture for undocumented immigrants who will be deported, removing penalties on migrants using welfare, and canceling fines on undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave.

Of Mr. Biden’s 94 actions, 52 involved undoing some Trump policy, MPI said.

Perhaps the biggest unkept promise is Mr. Biden’s vow to raise the number of refugees the U.S. would resettle this year.

During the campaign Mr. Biden set an annual target of 125,000, and in February he said he would more than quadruple Mr. Trump’s 2021 target to 62,500. Now, though, the White House says an increase is coming, but the 62,500 figure is unlikely.

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