Historians Respond to Biden Immigration Policies
An initiative of the Migration Scholar Collaborative (MiSC), a hub for scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to present their work in timely and accessible ways to journalists, lawmakers and thought leaders. We strive to decriminalize migration and open wider pathways to legal immigration in the United States.
January 22, 2021
Four years ago, a group of immigration historians affiliated with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the Immigration History Research Center (University of Minnesota) were asked to comment on the first "Muslim Ban," one of the executive orders signed by President Trump during his first week in office. The goal was to provide some sorely needed historical context explaining the significance of the new policy. The end result was published by Public Radio International. Throughout the Trump presidency, historians continued to provide perspective and commentary on the administration's continued assault on immigration.
On January 20, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden repealed the Muslim Ban and the many other related policies that followed in response to legal challenges. He also signed several other immigration-related orders, including a proclamation that halts construction of the wall on the Southern border and others that protect and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and roll back the previous administration's aggressive immigration enforcement policies in the interior of the country. There are many more executive actions planned in the coming weeks as well.
As we mark this new era of immigration, historians are working together again to provide context, reflect on the significance of the policy changes, and advocate for social justice. We're starting by providing annotated comments on Biden immigration policies:
- "Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entering the United States" signed by President Biden on January 20, 2021, with commentary by Erika Lee (University of Minnesota, Elliott Young (Lewis & Clark College), Evan Taparata (Harvard University,) and Yael Schaefer (Refugees International).
- "Pekose Memo on Immigration Enforcement and Some Removal Policies and Priorities" signed by President Biden on January 20, 2021, with commentary by Yael Schacher (Refugees International), Evan Taparata (Harvard University), and Elliott Young (Lewis & Clark College)
- "Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities" signed by President Biden on January 20, 2021, with commentary by Elliott Young (Lewis & Clark College)
- “Proclamation on the Termination of Emergency with Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction” signed by President Biden on January 20, 2021, with commentary by Geraldo Cadava (Northwestern University), Karl Jacoby (Columbia University), Julian Lim (Arizona State University) & Elliott Young (Lewis and Clark College.)
- “Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans” signed by President Biden on February 2, 2021, with commentary by Torrie Hester (Saint Louis University) & Hidetaka Hirota (Sophia University).
- “Executive Order on Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, and Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seeking at the US Mexico Border” signed by President Biden on February 2, 2021, with commentary by Laura Briggs (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Maria Cristina Garcia (Cornell University), Yael Schacher (Refugees International), Lynn Stephen (University of Oregon), and Elliott Young (Lewis and Clark College).