Will new immigration policies affect BYU-I students?

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President Biden on the New York Times news paper Photo credit: Markus Spiske

President Biden

In his first few weeks of being the new president of the United States of America, President Joe Biden implemented new policies regarding immigration into the States. Some of these changes happened to be directed toward some restrictions set during President Donald Trump’s presidency.

According to Lawfare, the Trump administration made over 1,000 changes to immigration policies, which made it more difficult for immigrants to officially migrate into the U.S.

According to NPR, Trump intended to continue his plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, limit the distribution of America’s working visas and implement further restrictions to be followed by customs enforcement. Biden now intends to reverse some of these policies in progress. Biden’s priorities are to stop the construction of the border’s wall, get rid of the immigration restrictions Trump implemented and provide a “road map to citizenship” to all illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.

Students’ perspective

“For me personally, I think it is really good,” said Alice Pao, a sophomore studying marketing. “I know that when Trump was in office, he kind of made it hard for visas and immigration.”

Pao is from Taiwan and has experienced what it takes to earn a visa allowing her into the country to study at BYU-Idaho.

Pao mentioned that coming here and adjusting to the culture was difficult because it is so different. She also feels that it could present some reality checks for many students.

“I know that some of my friends are going back to Taiwan because they don’t exactly fit in with the culture,” Pao said.

Pao also mentioned that she realizes what others might think of immigrants.

“For me, we aren’t here to take American jobs,” Pao said. “I am not here to take away anyone’s opportunity. The United States is a good place to be an immigrant. I have friends from Taiwan who have studied abroad in other countries who have experienced discrimination, but students at BYU-I are very inclusive.”

Pao encourages others from BYU-I to continue to be welcoming because it helps those from other countries to feel more accepted in a place where the culture is different.

The Southern Border

Biden’s new policies are making it easier to come into the United States, but according to The New York Times, Biden and his administration are having a hard time finding room for the immigrants coming through the Southern Border.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs, the article’s author, states that “the number of unaccompanied migrant children detailed along the southern border has tripled in the last two weeks to more than 3,250 … as the Biden administration struggles to find room for them in shelters.”

The article also states the Biden administration is having to open up emergency facilities that were implemented by the Trump administration to find more room for all the children.

Biden’s new policies on immigration are not only affecting immigrants or soon-to-be immigrants to the United States. Current citizens know about the policies and have opinions on them as well.

An American student’s perspective

Taylor Moulton, a senior studying biomedical science, expressed his thoughts about what these new policies might mean for incoming BYU-I students.

“For college students, these new policies are great for people who wouldn’t have the same opportunity in their own country,” Moulton said. “Things like the culture here could be hard for those who don’t know what life is like here at school or in our wards.”

BYU-I has a very diverse campus, mainly because of the global reach of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Moulton stated that the cultural diversity might be a challenge for individuals or families looking to live here in Rexburg while going to school since there are already so many diverse cultures from all around the world.

These new policies will make immigration easier for thousands to have the opportunity to study in person here in the states. Thousands still remain online because of how hard it is to get into the U.S.

As of now, Biden has no intention of stopping his push to allow more immigrants into the country, as stated in the NPR article.

According to the article, “Biden also calls for a reversal of Trump’s restrictions toward granting asylum and temporary protected status and instead wants to raise the cap on the number of refugees brought into the country to 125,000 per year.”

A past BYU-Idaho student’s perspective

Selina Arredondo, a former BYU-I student, mentioned that it was already hard to get into the U.S. before Trump was president but that it became even harder during his presidency.

“There are already so many papers you have to go through,” Arredondo said. “If I was done with papers, it felt like I just had more. They just kept coming for things that I already thought I filled out on a different document.”

Things might be different with Biden’s new policies allowing immigrants more easily into the borders. Arredondo explained with these new policies, it will be much easier for many immigrants to come into the country now that policies might allow a smoother transition into the country.

Biden looks to the future by allowing more immigrants into the country and this will affect how many other students will be able to study here at BYU-I. Time will tell how this affects the school long-term compared to other universities and the nation.