JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – We’re learning more about immigration policies and plans under the Biden administration including how these moves would impact people in Mississippi. Immigration legal experts and advocates see promise in the early decisions.
Certain policies completely target ways of the Trump administration, undoing their practices while others take bold stances like halting deportations for 100 days. Issues hundreds face right now in Mississippi.
In his first actions from the oval office, President Biden halted construction on the Southern Border Wall and its funding. A project many saw hurting asylum seekers and not worth the expense.
“When he said at the beginning Mexico was going to pay for this wall we saw that never happened either,” Dalila Reynoso with Border Crit Institute said. “In some parts, you would actually be going into natural resources that are there, wildlife as well.”
Research by the American immigration council shows since 2003 the U.S spent over $330 billion on immigration enforcement alone. As Vice President Biden worked under policies deporting over five million undocumented immigrants and tight paths to citizenship. Making many still skeptical.
“We are going to hold him accountable because we did see a lot of deportations under the Obama administration,” Attorney Patricia Ice with the Mississippi Immigration Rights Alliance told us. “We don’t expect to see nearly that many.”
Another executive order guarantees the protection of those under the D.A.C.A program granting deportation relief and work permits to over 640,000 young adults brought here illegally as children. An action impacting many in Mississippi.
“We have probably about 800 or so people who have D.A.C.A here in Mississippi,” Attorney Ice added. “It defers ICE action against these young people. They have to have a criminal background check, They have to be a certain age, they have to have a certain education.”
“They’re your nurses, teachers, in the state of Texas we see a lot of teachers that are D.A.C.A Recipients,” Reynoso said. “Educating our children that attend public school. You see them fighting against COVID-19.”
In his first immigration bill, President Biden also lays out an eight-year path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants in the U.S before Jan. 1. of this year. In some cases, those arrested in the 2019 ICE raids could get their cases reopened.
Biden’s executive orders also lift the travel and immigration bans from predominately Muslim countries. And his bill would overturn policies forcing people to have to wait 3-10 years to apply for a green card if they’ve been caught previously in the country illegally.