The Biden administration announced a 100-day pause on “certain noncitizen” deportations late Wednesday on President Joe Biden’s first day in office.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske said the pause, which goes into effect Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, was ordered “to ensure we have a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”
“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 in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” Mr. Pekoske’s statement read.
The move to pause deportations came after an earlier announcement from the new Biden administration Wednesday to stop the Remain-in-Mexico policy. Initiated under former-President Trump, the policy helped stop the flow of migrants in 2019, forcing over 65,000 individuals back into Mexico to wait for court hearings in the U.S.
The Washington Times reported that security experts are concerned halting deportations will worsen issues at the border, specifically by signaling lenient immigration law enforcement to thousands of migrants already making their way to the United States.
Last week, Reuters reported that roughly 6,500 migrants are currently heading north to the southern U.S.border. A number of the migrants recently clashed with Guatemalan military and law enforcement, leading to hundreds of arrests, including families traveling with young children.
On Sunday, a Biden transition official said the migrants seeking asylum “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” NBC News reported.
Also on Wednesday, Biden halted Trump’s construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. In December, Trump visited Texas to celebrate the completion of 450 miles of the border wall, calling it “tremendously successful.”
“We’re stopping in large numbers the drugs coming into the country for many, many years and decades. We’re stopping a lot of illegal immigration,” the now former-president told reporters.
Trump acknowledged the surge of migrants moving north from Cuba and South America “because they think there’s going to be a lot in it for them if they’re able to get through.”
“But we’re able to stop it. The wall has made a tremendous difference,” Trump continued. “The wall has made a tremendous difference on the southern border.”
In addition to these changes on immigration policy, Biden also reversed an order signed by Trump that prevented illegal immigrants in the United States from being tallied for congressional districts.