In just two years, the Trump administration has made more than two hundred policy changes affecting immigration, according to a 41-page report written by Sarah Pierce and published by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) this month. These changes—implemented in areas where the executive branch can act without Congressional approval—constitute “one of the most assertive agendas on immigration in modern times,” Pierce writes.
Some of new policies, like the Muslim ban and the separation of families, have received widespread coverage, but most have garnered little attention; the media and even immigration policy experts have been overwhelmed by the sheer number. Many of the changes, including the ones overlooked by the media, have serious consequences for immigrants and their communities. Examples include former attorney general Jeff Sessions’ imposition of industrial-style speedup on immigration judges and his efforts to limit their ability to exercise discretion.
While most of the changes appear aimed at limiting immigration—a major goal of the administration—others seem merely petty and cruel. For instance, a December 2017 memo “eliminates prior language instructing judges to use the ‘best interests of the child’ standard to ensure that a case involving a minor takes place in ‘child appropriate’ hearing environment.” In other words, judges are not supposed to make allowances for the infants and toddlers that current immigration law forces to attend court hearings.
The report, Immigration-Related Policy Changes in the First Two Years of the Trump Administration, is an invaluable resource for anyone concerned about immigration policy and it effects.
Download the full report:https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/immigration-policy-changes-two-years-trump-administration