Originally Published in The Washington Post
Jennifer Rubin - October 29, 2020
Trump is the president who enacted the child separation policy that inflicted trauma on thousands of families and has essentially orphaned more than 500 children. Biden, by contrast, has vowed in his first 100 days in office to “send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people. And all those so-called dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be legally certified again, to be able to stay in this country, and put on a path to citizenship.” Biden also made clear he will end the Trump era policy requiring asylum-seekers to make their case outside the United States. One can imagine Biden would also end the cruel retraction of temporary protected status for those who fled natural disasters and political chaos, and the administration’s counterproductive assault on legal immigration, which is an engine of growth and innovation.
The difference in these candidates’ values, character and grasp of policy is nowhere more evident than on refugee policy. “Fear-mongering and hostility toward refugees has been a defining feature of President Trump’s campaign and presidency,” Biden’s top foreign policy expert, Antony Blinken, told me during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “He could barely wait to get into the White House before he set about systematically destroying our nation’s bipartisan legacy as a beacon of hope to the world’s most vulnerable people.” Blinken added, “By slashing refugee admissions and making it nearly impossible for most asylum-seekers to find sanctuary here, President Trump has made it clear that he does not believe in fundamental American values or ideals.”
Biden’s record and worldview are 180 degrees from Trump’s. “As one of the co-sponsors of the 1980 Refugee Act, Joe Biden believes resettling refugees helps reunite families, enriches the fabric of America and enhances our global standing, influence and security,” Blinken said. “As president, he will rebuild and strengthen the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, including by setting an annual global refugee target of 125,000 — up from a ceiling of 15,000 under Trump.” Biden will also repeal Trump’s efforts to impose a travel ban on Muslim immigrants, Blinken said, and “work to create more opportunities for faith and local communities to help welcome refugees, which communities across America overwhelmingly want to do.”
Trump’s refusal to address the worldwide refugee crisis betrayed the deepest-held values of the United States, destabilized our allies, posed a threat to public health and fanned the flames of right-wing, anti-liberal xenophobia. In that regard, it is a vivid example of how Trump’s assault on our values on the international stage gave the upper hand to illiberal regimes and demagogues. It turns out that pulling up the drawbridge does not protect us from the world. It makes the world less stable, less prosperous and less conducive to democratic governance.