One of the big changes we should expect under a Joe Biden administration is an explosion of illegal immigration and a renewed crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The reason for this is simple: the immigration and border policies the Trump administration has put into place over the past four years have succeeded in driving down illegal immigration, and Biden has promised to reverse nearly all of them.
Throughout the campaign, Biden was forthright about his plans to dismantle Trump’s immigration and border security agenda. His team is now planning to carry out those plans, including a 100-day moratorium on deportations, directives to curtail arrests of illegal immigrants, and a full restoration of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
These actions will almost certainly trigger a wave of illegal immigration up and down the southwest border. Why? Because Trump’s policies helped bring illegal immigration under control. Undoing them will be interpreted, rightly, as an invitation to would-be migrants in Mexico and Central America, who will respond accordingly, especially as those countries continue to suffer from worsening conditions under the pandemic.
Although pandemic restrictions and border security policies in the United States and Mexico helped decrease the number of apprehensions at the southwest border over the summer and fall, illegal immigration was steadily declining long before the outbreak, largely because of programs and policies implemented by the Trump administration in response to a dramatic rise in illegal border crossings and apprehensions in 2019.