WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nonpartisan government watchdog Accountable.US is calling on President-elect Joe Biden and Congress to immediately reverse the Trump administration’s cruel, harmful and racist immigration policies from the last four years. Trump relentlessly pushed such policies, from his first days in office with the Muslim travel ban, to the September 2017 decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to the child separation policy that burst into public view in May 2018 and the expedited removal policy announced in June 2019.
As part of its Damage Control project, Accountable.US is highlighting the actions taken by the Trump administration to benefit industry, its lobbyists, and those that filled the president’s campaign coffers.
“President-elect Biden shouldn’t waste a second before reversing the racist Muslim travel ban and ending the child separation policy that boosted private prisons who gave generous political contributions to the Trump campaign,” said Chris Saeger, spokesperson for Accountable.US. “Further, he should work with Congress right away to codify DACA protections so that young Americans can finally gain a path to citizenship and live full lives, unafraid of being removed from the only country they’ve ever known.”
The Biden administration should immediately take action in the following areas that will help repeal the dangerous standards set during the past four years under Trump:
- End the Muslim Travel Ban that spurred mass protests across the nation and several legal challenges. Trump has continually cited a desire to protect Americans from terrorist attacks conducted by foreign nationals as a rationale for these bans. This claim is based on a racist perception that fails to take into account the true perpetrators of terror attacks within the United States. The Biden administration should immediately rescind this racist Muslim ban through executive order, while working to eradicate right-wing extremism that poses a true threat to American safety. [Read more here.]
- End the child separation policy and reunite hundreds of children with their parents. In April 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a policy of separating children from their detained parents. The Trump administration’s family separation policy was a financial boon for businesses and organizations involved in immigration enforcement, particularly those tasked with holding detained children. The Department of Health and Human Services paid at least $1.2 billion to nonprofit organizations that housed immigrant children. Private-prison contractors GEO Group and CoreCivic received at least $1.9 billion in federal contracts pertaining to immigration enforcement after donating heavily to Trump’s inaugural fund and other Republican committees.
The Biden administration should direct DHS and ICE to immediately cease the separation of families at the border, while also working to reunite the hundreds of children still separated from their parents. [Read more here.]
- Work with Congress to Protect DREAMers who have lived in fear of being deported. In September 2017, the Trump administration officially moved to rescind the Obama-Era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. This program, established in 2012, defers immigration enforcement actions for “certain young people who were brought to this country as children” for a renewable, two-year period. DACA recipients and DACA-eligible residents are crucial the national economy, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration should work to not only pass legislation codifying these protections under DACA, but strengthen to ensure no individual must fear deportation from the only home they’ve ever known. [Read more here.]
- Rescind expedited removal and ensure that all non-violent undocumented immigrants have an opportunity to make their cases before judges with adequate legal representation. In June 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced a new policy regarding the “expedited removal” of undocumented immigrants, in which individuals could be quickly deported before seeing a judge or obtaining legal representation if they were unable to prove they had continuously been in the country for two years. This policy was a stark departure from the prior policy which only applied to undocumented immigrants who had been “arrested within 100 miles of the border within two weeks of their arrival.” The expedited removal process has been criticized as a tool to “‘deport people as quickly as possible,'” including those who may have valid claims to remain in the country but never received an opportunity to make their case.
Unsurprisingly, this new policy on expedited removal, as well as other aspects of the Trump administration’s hardline immigration stance, has been incredibly lucrative for government contractors involved in its enforcement. During the Trump administration, air transportation companies received over $587 million in government contracts to provide air transportation and relocation services related to ICE deportations. GEO Group and CoreCivic, private-prison contractors who donated half a million dollars in total to Trump’s inauguration have made billions in government contracts related to the housing of undocumented immigrants. [Read more here.]
Accountable.US has released full documentation for the corrupt origins of these harmful policies on its Damage Control site, which catalogs solutions to harmful Trump policies the Biden administration should pursue to make the government work for all Americans again.