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WASHINGTON, July 31, 2020 – In the fourth year of an administration that has placed immigration at the center of its policy agenda in a way no prior White House has done, a new Migration Policy Institute (MPI) report catalogs the more than 400 executive actions that have been taken since President Donald Trump assumed office in January 2017.

The report, Dismantling and Reconstructing the U.S. Immigration System: A Catalog of Changes under the Trump Presidency, chronicles these immigration-related actions, including 63 advanced as responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and previews another three dozen anticipated changes.

From the original travel ban for visitors from Muslim-majority countries to termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, overlapping policies narrowing asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, curbs on legal immigration and access to benefits, deployment of active-duty military to the border, changed interior enforcement policies and reshaping of the immigration courts, the report describes each action in brief, by date and with reference back to the original source.

The developments are organized by topic:

  • Immigration enforcement at the border and in the U.S. interior
  • Asylum and refugee systems and other humanitarian programs
  • Justice Department actions, including in the immigration courts
  • Changes to vetting and visa processes at the State Department, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Labor Department
  • Pandemic response

Because the Trump administration has reshaped nearly every corner of the U.S. immigration system via executive action, policy guidance and regulatory changes, the policies and practices could be undone by a successor administration. Yet the authors note that the disciplined, “rapid-fire” pace of the campaign to redirect immigration policy could guarantee some longevity to the administration’s approach.

“It is unlikely that a future administration will have the political will and resources to undo all of these changes at anywhere near a similar pace,” MPI researchers Sarah Pierce and Jessica Bolter conclude. “Thus, regardless of whether the pendulum swings in the direction of policies that favor revived immigration, the restoration of humanitarian protections and more targeted enforcement, the Trump presidency will have lasting effects on the U.S. immigration system long after his time in office.”

Read the report here: www.migrationpolicy.org/research/us-immigration-system-changes-trump-presidency.

For more on MPI’s work examining the executive orders and other actions taken by the Trump administration, visit: www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/us-immigration-policy-program/data-and-analysis-related-trump-administration-executive.

The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels.