The first hundred days of any administration are usually the most critical, and Joe Biden seems unwilling to waste a second.
Just hours after setting foot in the Oval Office, the Department of Homeland Security announced a suspension of deportations of non-citizens beginning January 22nd, and for one hundred days.
The measure represented one of the first campaign promises to be fulfilled.
In a statement, DHS said the moratorium would review and reset enforcement priorities.
“The pause will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border amid the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” the statement read.
Mijente, one of the most influential pro-immigrant organizations in the country, celebrated Biden’s delivery of his promise on the current immigration policy.
“Today, immigrants across the country can breathe a sigh of relief,” Marisa Franco, the National Director of the organization, said in a statement. “We applaud this first step by President Joe Biden as a sign of good faith and a recognition that past harms must be made right.”
However, although the moratorium is a step in the right direction, Franco noted it is just a starting point for the work that needs to be done.
The immigration issue is often a thorny one for any new administration. Between funding problems and the eternal struggle with the opposition in Congress, undocumented citizens’ lives often hang in the balance.
But after four years under the Trump administration’s ruthless immigration agencies, Biden’s moratorium is the beginning of a review of immigration policy in the country.
More specifically, a memo by the Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske said the 100-day moratorium applied to immigrants in the U.S. and were ordered deportation by an immigration judge. This doesn’t apply to those who arrived after November 1 or if they gave up their right to stay in the U.S. voluntarily understanding the consequences and the opportunity to obtain legal representation.
There is still a lot of information missing when it comes to Biden and how he plans to write the details. Although presidents usually leave those tasks to the DHS, the memo includes Biden’s original promise during his campaign. He said he’d only deport immigrants who had been convicted of a felony, but not those who had DUI charges, for example.
If anything is telling about Biden’s first day in office, it is that when the citizens hold elected officials accountable, they will achieve their promises.