Posted on January 12, 2021

More Immigrants Will Come to the U.S. Under President Biden. That’s a Good Thing.

Jorge Ramos, New York Times, January 8, 2021

The restrictive policies of the Trump administration, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, have reduced migration to the United States to its lowest level in decades.

However, there’s little doubt that more immigrants will start coming once Joe Biden becomes president. And that’s OK. The United States has a historic opportunity to regain its image as a country of immigrants. But it won’t be easy.

It’s no surprise that the end of the racist, anti-immigrant Trump administration would once again make the United States an attractive destination for migrants, particularly considering the challenges many face at home. Of course, immigrants come to the United States from many countries, but half of them are Latin Americans, so that’s whom I’m focusing on.


Leonel Burgos, part of a caravan in Honduras that left for the United States in December, told Univision that Mr. Biden “said he was going to help all immigrants; let’s see if it’s true.” The caravan was dismantled by the Honduran authorities a few days later. “As immigrants, what we ask the president who just won is that he help us — please,” said Juan Fernando Benítez, another member of the caravan.


After the pandemic and the horrors of the Trump era, the United States must return to its historic tradition of receiving foreigners. Doing so will help the country emerge from its economic crisis. Immigrants work the toughest jobs, create employment opportunities for others and give back to their communities. Undocumented immigrants contribute more than $11 billion a year in state and local taxes. Immigrants are an essential part of our multiethnic, multicultural society.

But before the Biden administration can address the challenge of new migrant caravans heading north, it will have to deal with the tens of thousands of asylum seekers, mostly Central Americans, already stranded in Mexico along the U.S. border.

In one of last year’s presidential debates, Mr. Biden criticized the Trump policy that requires those seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed. {snip} Now those refugees will be his problem. If he wants to be the anti-Trump president, Mr. Biden will have to resolve this situation promptly and humanely.

The incoming administration has already sent the message that it will be much more welcoming to immigrants — and not only those seeking to enter the United States, but also those who are already here. The administration has a long list of promises to fulfill in its first 100 days, from legalizing America’s approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants and protecting Dreamers to granting temporary protected status to the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans living in the United States who escaped Nicolás Maduro’s regime.


Yes, there will be more immigrants in the United States with Mr. Biden in the White House. Under Mr. Trump, annual net immigration fell to just 595,000 people, the fewest since the 1980s, according to the Brookings Institution. In the two years immediately preceding the Trump presidency, the United States saw net immigration of more than one million people annually.