Biden Pulls 65 Pending Trump Executive Orders

Withdrawals take sledgehammer to immigration agenda

Getty Images
February 15, 2021

President Joe Biden has pulled 65 pending Trump administration executive orders, many of which deal with key national security and immigration matters. 

Several of the withdrawals strike down orders that would protect American jobs by tightening immigration restrictions and eliminate proposed oversight regulations on how China-backed Confucius Institutes operate on campus. The Biden administration selectively cut the orders, as some pending Trump administration actions remain under review.

Biden withdrew one Department of Homeland Security regulation that would bar foreign nationals with deportation orders from working. Under current law, outgoing aliens released from custody can still seek legal employment. The proposed—and now withdrawn—Trump executive order would increase protections for American workers by striking down such an expansive employment policy.

Rep. Ronny Jackson (R., Texas) blasted Biden's rollback on Trump-era regulations as "disheartening" and "disingenuous."

"President Biden's approach to immigration is both disheartening and predictable given the hypocrisy of the left. In less than one month, the Biden administration has steamrolled commonsense immigration policies simply because they were tied to President Trump," Jackson said. "Clearly, Democrats are not serious about working across the aisle. Disingenuous attempts to legislate in a bipartisan manner are bad for effective policymaking and, in turn, for the American people."

Robert Law, the director of regulatory affairs and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the withdrawal signals radicalism in Biden's coming immigration agenda and that such reversals harm both the country’s security and economy.

"What is very apparent is that there is nothing moderate about the direction of immigration policy that the Biden administration, through his various political appointees, is pursuing," Law said. "If there's any immigration regulation or policy that the Trump administration approved that should be carried on, you would think it would be something like this."

The Biden administration struck down another proposed immigration order that would have eliminated the ability of certain visa holders to seek employment.

These withdrawals—which came without any congressional consultation—also come as the Biden administration and Democrats upend other legislative actions taken to secure the border. On Thursday, the Biden administration rescinded the national emergency proclamation used by the Trump White House to allot funding to construct the southern border wall.

Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) said that such actions hurt the American economy and give illegal immigrants "privileged treatment."

"America's labor market is already tight and thanks to Biden, U.S. citizens now have to compete with a flood of illegal immigrants," said Banks. "Stimulus checks, vaccines, no threat of deportation—it's hard to see what Biden's actual voters get that illegal immigrants don't, aside from income taxes. The only way this sort of privileged treatment makes sense is if Biden is counting on their help in 2024."

Biden also reversed an order that would mandate the disclosure of any agreement made between American schools and Confucius Institutes. Operated by Chinese Communist Party-affiliated entities, Confucius Institutes peddle Chinese influence and monitor Chinese students on U.S. campuses. Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo designated the Confucius Institute as a "foreign mission" for the Communist Party last year. Biden's reversal of the pending order would alleviate pressure and accountability on universities and schools that have signed contracts to welcome the institutes on campus.

Republicans blasted the national security implications of the reversal. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) warned that China sees American universities as a chief battlefront with Beijing, and the country's influence requires a harder look rather than a rollback in oversight.

"American universities are on the frontline of our competition with the Chinese Communist Party," Gallagher told the Washington Free Beacon. "At a time when the CCP is seeking more avenues than ever to influence the direction of American China policy, we should be doing everything possible to shine light on its funding arrangements here in the U.S."

Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) warned China's "foreign propaganda" threatens American education, and plans to reintroduce an act aimed at mitigating the Biden reversal’s kowtow to Confucius Institutes. 

"American students and families deserve to know the source of their education, especially when the source is a foreign government," Wilson said.  "Confucius Institutes at universities and subsidiary partnerships with K-12 schools often do not have their contracts or funding amounts publicly disclosed. Reversing this proposed rule allows these foreign propaganda missions to continue operating in the dark and abandons accountability for universities to report on these partnerships."

The White House did not return a request for comment.