The Biden administration is examining the potential reversal of thousands of Trump era deportations, according to a new report from POLITICO. Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Espinosa says that authorities are “committed to reviewing the cases of individuals whose removals under the prior administration failed to live up to our highest values.” Espinosa added that “a rigorous, systematic approach” for those reviews is under development, along with “an orderly process” for people who have been deported to file claims.
This move comes in addition to other pro-immigrant steps including the Biden administration’s undoing of the Trump team’s so-called “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims were processed in the United States. Meanwhile, as POLITICO summarizes the matter, Biden’s team “is working on plans for an organized review of thousands of cases of people who say they were unjustly deported in recent years,” adding that numerous Trump era deportations were “unduly harsh, with little law enforcement benefit” in officials’ assessment. Trump frequently touted his stances against immigrants, characterizing them — with no backing besides ignorance and racism — as some kind of existential threat to the United States. This aggression was reflected by his administration’s policies.
Groups who could benefit from the Biden administration’s moves include military families and veterans, individuals who missed out on protections provided by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program amid the Trump administration’s attempts to end it, and those who may have been deported in retaliation for advocacy work. Others who could see progress in their favor include individuals with family ties to the United States. As POLITICO explains it, the “reviews will proceed on a painstaking case-by case basis, officials said. At least initially, only a very small fraction — perhaps thousands — of more than 900,000 formal deportations under Trump could be reversed. But eventually, if the review system is effective, many more people could apply.”
Besides other options, federal authorities have the ability to issue what are called humanitarian paroles, which allow individuals who might otherwise be barred from the United States the ability to enter the country for a limited time, without any accompanying change in their immigration status. As for a longer-term option, Marsha Espinosa from the Department of Homeland Security added that authorities are deliberating over options to ease the naturalization process for military families. Notably, the Biden administration has already overseen the return of one military family member, whose travails received wide attention, to the United States. Alejandra Juarez — whose husband, Temo Juarez, is a veteran — was reunited with her family this May after years out of the country.