During Trump’s administration, he imposed restrictive policies towards border control and deportation policy. Asylum seekers were granted a screening process prior to the change made by the Biden administration, but children could be denied this right if they were unaccompanied. It is no doubt Trump’s era, led to a series of xenophobic policies being integrated into the United States legislative system. A lot of these policies were targeted towards curating an America that categorized citizens by ostracizing Americans who had either recently migrated to the U.S.A or had immigrant grandparents or parents.
Backtracking to Trump's era, a tragic milestone American History saw was the expulsion of Haitians from America. The Trump administration ended the temporary protected status given to near 59,000 Haitians who migrated to America following the earthquake of 2010, which left thousands of Haitians homeless. The removal of their protected status meant that Haitians would face deportation if they did not leave on their own by July 2019. While this was first enacted by the Trump administration, under the pandemic emergency policy, Biden’s administration deported 17,900 people back to Haiti within five months, starting from the 19th of September 2021. The majority of those deported were women, children and families as reported by the IMO. These are people who grew up in America, children who were born here and have only known life in America. They are now being told to leave because they were only given temporary protection by the state they had learnt to call home. While the pandemic brought upon struggles and a burden on resources to many countries, the U.S.A has continued to have racist policies targeting refugees and asylum seekers. These policies came in place as far as 2019 during Trump’s era. Biden had just continued with the plans.
U.S. A’s history has been tainted with a very negative image when it comes to its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. In 2019, there was an uproar regarding how kids were kept in cages at detainment centers for asylum seekers by I.C.E. These inhumane conditions put the U.S. into the spotlight and while some pressure was applied on them, it does not seem it was long-lasting as it made no tangible change, until now. A small step towards the right direction is the Biden Administrations' statement to not expel migrant children who come to the U.S. alone.
Unaccompanied minors will now remain in the U.S. For a long time, the U.S has used the pandemic as a safety blanket to justify its inherently racist policies, but by granting this right to unaccompanied minors we might see actual progression take place from this point onwards. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, they were housing 9,824 migrant children by the start of March. The harm presented to migrant children puts them in a far more vulnerable position. therefore, not only is this necessary, but it is about time that the U.S.A presented such a resolution.
Whether it’s the no-tolerance policy by Trump and the building of ‘cages’ at border control by the Obama administration or Biden hiding under emergency pandemic measures, America needs to change its treatment towards immigrants.
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