Immigration policy has always been a critical and controversial issue in American politics.  Not a day goes by when there isn’t some news story dealing with immigration issues.  With the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, there has been a significant shift in policies and priorities. In this post, the legal team at highlights some of the most significant changes in immigration policy under President Biden compared to President Trump.

1. The “Zero Tolerance” Policy

The “Zero Tolerance” policy was one of the signature cornerstones of the Trump administration’s approach to immigration issues.  This policy led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the United States/Mexico border.  Under this controversial policy, persons who crossed the border without inspection or authorization were criminally prosecuted.  This resulted in thousands of families being separated.  However, upon assuming office, the Biden administration issued an executive order terminating President Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy and created a task force to start reunifying families that had been separated as a result of this policy.  President Biden has since stated that he intends to focus on the root causes of migration from Central America and reforming the nation’s asylum process.

2. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The DACA program, introduced under President Barack Obama, offered temporary protection from deportation and work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.  The rationale underlying the program is that children brought into the United States should not be penalized for a choice they had no say in and to deport them to a country they had never returned to would be harsh and inhumane.  President Trump attempted to terminate DACA in 2017 which resulted in years of litigation culminating in a Supreme Court decision keeping DACA in place.  President Biden, on the other hand, has stated his strong support for the DACA program since he took office in 2021.  He has issued an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take appropriate measures to preserve and fortify DACA.  Additionally, the Biden administration has expressed a commitment to creating a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers through legislative reforms.  However, whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

3. The Travel Ban

Upon assuming office, one of President Trump’s first actions in 2017 was to implement a travel ban, which targeted several predominantly Muslim countries.  This ban was met with widespread protests and legal challenges, and it went through several revisions before being upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018.  President Biden, on the other hand immediately revoked the travel ban on his first day in office.  He described it as “stain on our national conscience.”  The Biden administration has since worked on improving the visa application process for individuals from the affected countries and addressing the backlog of applications that accumulated during the travel ban.

4. Refugee Admissions

The Trump administration dramatically reduced the number of refugees allowed entry onto American soil, making it the lowest number is several decades.  However, since coming into office, the Biden administration has taken a different approach by committing to increase the number of refugees admitted into the United States.  Within his first few months in office, President Biden increased the annual refugee cap from 15,000 to 62,500 and declared a goal of admitting up to 125,000 refugees in the following years.

5. The Asylum System

President Trump enacted several policies to limit the number of asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States.  One of those polices was the “Remain in Mexico” policy which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims were processed.  Another policy was the “Safe Third Country” agreements with Central American countries which required asylum seekers to apply for protection in a third country before reaching the United States.  Since taking office, President Biden has ended the “Remain in Mexico” policy and suspended the “Safe Third Country” agreements.  The Biden administration is now working to rebuild the asylum system by focusing on improving processing times, addressing backlogs, and providing more resources to adjudicate asylum claims efficiently and fairly.


There is no doubt that President Trump and Biden have taken very different approaches to immigration issues.  Of course, these shifts in policies match their respective campaign promises and what they perceive to be the passions of their base.  President Trump ran on a zero tolerance approach to immigration while President Biden promised a much different approach.

If you’re facing immigration issues, you need the best lawyer by your side.  At we have the experience and knowledge to help persons facing the most significant immigration issues. Get in touch with us today and let us help you if you’re facing an immigration issue and need legal help. Our team of lawyers and support staff have dealt with practically every type of immigration issue. We can help you.

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