Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 largely on his tough immigration policies. Those policies have yielded results, with some 400 miles of border wall completed and border apprehensions falling by half in the past year. But a Joe Biden administration would reverse most or all of Trump's actions on immigration. "There's going to be a major expansion of immigration, both legal and illegal, under Biden," says Jason Richwine, policy analyst and National Review contributor.
Biden's ability to undo Trump's policies is possible because Congress has failed to take any meaningful action on immigration in recent years, leaving the president to act on his own. "Ideally Congress would pass laws that lay out exactly how to deal with, for example, asylum applications at the southern border," says Richwine. "But because they haven't, the Trump administration has had to use executive orders and regulations."
Those orders and regulations can be reversed by the next president. And with a divided Congress, the only recourse for supporters of Trump policy may be the courts. "If Biden were to remove some of these regulations, perhaps there's opportunity for a lawsuit," says Richwine. "But I would much prefer that Congress address this problem."
While the border wall may remain under a potential Biden administration, there would be a lot more people clamoring to get over or through it. "I anticipate a major surge at the border, as soon as it becomes obvious that the Biden administration would not continue the (Trump) policies," says Richwine. "For people, particularly from Central America, but also from overseas coming through Central America, that is going to send a signal that it's much easier to get into the United States now."