In his first year in office, President Joe Biden has followed through on a number of his key campaign promises, from rebuilding US alliances globally to distributing vaccines across America and the world.
But others remain work in progress or depend on Congress to address them. This is especially true of his promises to reform the country’s immigration system, where Biden is caught between the demands of his Democratic base and Latino voters and the realities of a large influx of migrants into the United States.
A look at where Biden stands on some of his key promises as he completes his freshman year:
— Achieve some semblance of normalcy by Christmas 2021.
Broken. The delta and then omicron variants led to new records for infections, spikes in hospitalizations, business closures and merchandise shortages across the country over the holiday season.
— Provide Americans with 1 billion home tests.
In progress. In December, Biden pledged to provide 500 million rapid tests amid a surge in the highly transmissible omicron variant, and last week announced plans to distribute an additional 500 million tests. A distribution site is launched on Wednesday.
– Provide 100 million vaccines to Americans in its first 100 days and vaccinate 70% of the world’s population against COVID by September 2022.
In progress. Biden exceeded the national vaccination target, but only about 61% of the world’s population received a dose.
– Safely reopen a majority of K-8 schools and keep them open.
Mostly accomplished. Schools have largely returned to in-person learning, but the omicron push has caused closures and other issues in a handful of school districts across the country.
– Pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislative package.
Do; the bill passed last March. He also kept his promise to provide $2,000 in direct aid to Americans.
– Cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit, protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, join the Paris Climate Accord and adopt the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce harmful hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.
— Ban new oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters.
Broken. The administration proposed reforms to the nation’s oil and gas leasing program, but did not enact a comprehensive ban.
– Reverse President Donald Trump’s 2017 corporate tax rate cuts.
Broken. Biden’s social and environmental spending package included tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy, but the bill is currently stalled in the Senate.
– Suspend federal student debt payments.
— Commission a review of US supply chains.
– Raise the refugee cap to 125,000, from 15,000 set by Trump.
Not close. Biden signed an executive order in February raising the cap to 62,500 refugees.
— Increase humanitarian resources at the border and encourage public-private partnerships to address an increase in migration there.
Yes, but the authorities are still struggling to cope with the influx of migrants at the border. Biden signed an executive order directing officials to prepare plans for the use of humanitarian resources there. It still needs to establish new public-private partnerships.
— Reform the US asylum system.
Incomplete. Biden signed an executive order in February directing his officials to develop a strategy for migration, including refugees and asylum seekers, and while he promised last year to implement a new system of ‘humane’ asylum, there was no sign of details from the White House. And the Biden administration has continued a Trump-era policy that allows Customs and Border Protection to quickly deport migrants who enter the country without permission to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
– Reverse Trump-era policies on travel restrictions on people from a number of Muslim-majority countries, fund and build the border wall, a provision discouraging migrants from using public benefits, and an expansion criteria for deporting immigrants.
— Streamline and improve the naturalization process for green card holders.
In progress. Biden signed an executive order in February to improve the naturalization process, and the Department of Homeland Security has since revoked some Trump-era rules.
— End the family separation policy and create a working group to reunite families separated at the border.
Do. Biden signed executive orders ending the policy and establishing a task force focused on family reunification. Only a handful of families have been reunited so far due to difficulties in locating relatives.
— Protect young immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents by reinstating the Obama-era policy of defending them and their families from deportation.
In progress. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March his agency was enacting a rule to ‘preserve and fortify’ the policy, which would prioritize young immigrants from deportation, but the policy itself still faces challenges in court .
— End prolonged detention of migrants and invest in a case management system to process people.
Broken. There have been no announcements of additional investments in case management systems. While the administration said in March it would try to release parents and children within 72 hours of their arrival, officials acknowledged that hundreds of children had been detained by Border Patrol for much longer. The administration is grappling with an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border and a lack of infrastructure to accommodate them.
– Reverse transgender military ban.
— Establish a police oversight board.
Abandoned. The Biden administration decided to scrap the idea based on input from civil rights groups and police unions.
– Asks the Attorney General to provide a list of recommendations for restructuring the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other Department of Justice agencies to better enforce gun laws fire.
– Order the FBI to release a report on backlogs in background checks for gun purchases.
– “End the eternal wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East” and end US involvement in the civil war in Yemen.
Mixed. The United States ended the 20-year war in Afghanistan in August, albeit in bloody and chaotic fashion. However, the administration announced in November that it would sell $650 million worth of air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia, a central player in the conflict in Yemen.
— Placing human rights at the center of foreign policy.
Mixed. Biden has repeatedly called out China for targeting Hong Kong democracy activists and human rights abuses against Uyghurs and ethnic minorities. He also raised concerns about the imprisonment and treatment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. He refused to hold Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly responsible for the murder of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite US intelligence showing Salman approved of the hit.
– Improve ties with allies who had difficult relations with Trump.
Mixed. Biden has received praise from his allies for his efforts to regain American leadership on climate issues. Indo-Pacific leaders were pleased with China’s policy coordination efforts. Biden has acknowledged his administration stumbled with rolling out a deal to supply nuclear submarine technology to Australia, a move that torpedoed a $66 billion French deal and led Paris to temporarily recall its ambassador in Washington. His decision to go ahead with the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan angered some NATO allies who sought to extend the mission to avoid a Taliban takeover.
— Quickly join the nuclear deal with Iran as long as Tehran comes back into compliance.
Not accomplished. The indirect talks have not collapsed, but White House hopes are fading.