Posted on August 4, 2021

Biden Taps Lawyer to Help Rescind Trump Immigration Policy

Anita Kumar, Politico, August 2, 2021

After months of waiting, the Biden administration has hired a former Obama official to help take apart the restrictive immigration policies developed under former President Donald Trump, according to three people familiar with the hiring.

Lucas Guttentag will serve as senior counselor on immigration policy and report to the Department of Justice’s Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. He served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser on immigration policy, including as senior counselor to the secretary of Homeland Security.

Biden had planned since the presidential transition to hire a high-ranking official at the Justice Department to focus specifically on immigration policies. But the hiring has taken six months and immigration activists have been frustrated by the delay, eager to begin the dismantling of one of the areas Trump focused on most intently during his four years in office.


Guttentag’s post is reminiscent of the role played by Gene Hamilton during the Trump administration. Hamilton held prominent positions focused on immigration in both the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice Department, helping put together much of the immigration infrastructure that defined Trump’s presidency.

According to two of the people, Guttentag will not only help dismantle Trump-era policies but will coordinate Biden policy among various agencies and departments.

“It’s not good that it took so long, but there couldn’t be a better person in my opinion,” one of the people said. “There’s very few people who understand immigration law and policy like Lucas.”


{snip} Trump pushed through policies, big and small, designed to reduce legal and illegal immigration to the United States — from lengthening the citizenship test and denying visas to citizens of several majority-Muslim nations to building 400 miles of a 30-feet steel wall along the southern border and sharply limiting the granting of asylum claims.


{snip} The president rescinded some policies quickly through executive actions but other changes have required lengthy, cumbersome regulatory processes, or face legal challenges or a recalcitrant Congress reluctant to swiftly change laws.