The Biden administration is searching for answers on how to handle the current border crisis, which has seen the highest number of illegal immigrants at the U.S. southern border in the last 20 years, according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and a senior official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. President Joe Biden nullified many of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies, but Mexican officials say that the previous administration's tough stance on illegal immigration helped curb migrants from Central and South America from making the journey north.
The New York Times reported, "The Biden administration's appeal to do more against migration has put Mexico in a difficult position. While Mr. Trump strong-armed Mexico into militarizing the border, some Mexican officials argue that his harsh policies may have at times helped lessen their load by deterring migrants from attempting to make the journey north."
In two months, the Biden administration has dismantled numerous immigration policies and tools that Trump instituted.
On his first day in the White House, President Biden stopped all construction on the border wall.
Biden created a task force to reunite children who were separated from their parents during the Trump administration.
Biden signed an executive action that "will direct the State Department, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to review guidelines and policies implemented under Trump to determine whether they are in line with the government's desire to promote 'integration and inclusion,'" according to NBC News.
The Biden administration reinstituted the Central American minors program, an Obama-era immigration policy that allowed parents who are lawfully present in the U.S. to request refugee status for their children who are living in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Trump administration ended the program in 2017.
The Biden administration announced last month that it would phase out Trump's "remain in Mexico" policy.
"Beginning on February 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin phase one of a program to restore safe and orderly processing at the southwest border," the Department of Homeland Security said. "DHS will begin processing people who had been forced to 'remain in Mexico' under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). Approximately 25,000 individuals in MPP continue to have active cases." The Trump administration made an agreement with the Mexican government that allowed U.S. border officials to send back more than 70,000 migrants to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols.
Biden's proposed "groundbreaking" immigration reform plan is expected to provide a pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.
On the campaign trail, Biden announced to the world that he would end deportations if he was elected, "In the first 100 days of my administration — no one — no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America."
Last week, New York Times reporters spoke to Gladys Oneida Pérez Cruz, a migrant woman who paid a coyote $9,000 to get her and her son to the United States. "Biden promised us that everything was going to change. He hasn't done it yet, but he is going to be a good president for migrants."
In January, migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras issued a statement on behalf of migrants traveling to the U.S. in a caravan, which demanded the Biden administration to "honor its commitments." "We recognize the importance of the incoming Government of the United States having shown a strong commitment to migrants and asylum seekers, which presents an opportunity for the governments of Mexico and Central America to develop policies and a migration management that respect and promote the human rights of the population in mobility," the statement read. "We will advocate that the Biden government honors its commitments."
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called Biden the "migrant president," adding that so many illegal immigrants "feel they're going to reach the United States,"
This week, Biden's DHS secretary said if "loving parents" send their children to the U.S. border, "We will not expel" them, "we will care for them."
The current border crisis has overwhelmed migrant facilities — some up to 729% capacity. There are reports of children in facilities "akin to jails," forced to take turns sleeping on floors, and only allowed one shower per week.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) slammed the Biden administration over its handling of the massive surge, calling it an "abject failure." Abbott revealed that one migrant facility for minors had unsafe drinking water and another one had a COVID-19 outbreak.