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Eric Kastner

Like many Presidents before him, President Biden campaigned on a platform that was full of promises. For example, he guaranteed that he would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour; he promised to make sure that children were never separated from their parents at the border, and he promised to stop all deportations for the first 100 days of his presidency. However, Biden has not delivered on these three promises, which has disappointed many Americans.

One month into his presidential career, Joe Biden has already left a trail of broken promises on progressive legislation. It was reported that the President held a closed-door meeting with a group of mayors and governors. At the first sign of pushback from Republicans in the room, he immediately dropped his support for the $15 minimum wage on the basis that he needed bipartisan support to pass it. Given that Democrats control the House, Senate, and the White House, this position seems surprising. “I really want this in there but it just doesn’t look like we can do it because of reconciliation,” Biden said, according to those present. “Right now, we have to prepare for this not making it,” he added. As Politico noted, there was no further negotiation on the minimum wage after that; the topic was simply dropped.

Throughout the 2020 election, Biden made his fair share of immigration policy promises. Most notably, he made many promises regarding the deportation of illegal immigrants. “I will send to the desk immediately a bill that requires access to citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks, number one. Number two, the first hundred days of my administration, no one, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America,” said Biden during a Democratic debate in March of 2020. However, since taking office, the Biden administration has continued deporting thousands of individuals attempting to cross the border illegally. According to United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigrant community in the county, as of February 16, 2021, the Biden administration had conducted a total of 127,457 deportations. Even though Biden is deporting tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, his administration is working on a path to citizenship for migrants that are currently in the United States. Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed two bills on Thursday that would establish paths to citizenship or legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants, including those who entered the country unlawfully as children and workers in the agriculture sector. The legislation was passed largely along partisan lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans in opposition.

Although more understated than the first, the second presidential debate between former President Trump and Joe Biden was quickly filled with tension as each candidate traded blows, particularly on the topic of immigration and the migrant crisis at the southern border. “They got separated from their parents. That makes us a laughing-stock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation,” Biden scolded while referring to Trump’s handling of migrant children at the southern border. Throughout the evening, and the campaign as a whole, Biden made his opposition to migrant children being temporarily detained crystal clear. That all changed when he took office. On February 22, just over a month after his inauguration, the Biden administration reopened a camp for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, which was used most recently in 2019 by the Trump administration. Members of the President’s own party condemned the decision, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying, “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party,” in a tweet on February 23. The 66-acre facility has been reopened to temporarily hold as many as 700 migrant children, aged 13 to 17. 

Even though Biden didn’t deliver on most of his promises, he did deliver on one of his most important ones. He managed to get congressional approval for the American Rescue Plan. The plan calls for sending another $1,400 per person to eligible recipients. This money would be in addition to the $600 payments that were approved by Congress in December and sent out earlier this month for a total of $2,000. The new payments would go to adult dependents that were left out of the earlier rounds, like some children over the age of 17. It would also include households with mixed immigration status, after the first round of $1,200 checks left out the spouses of undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security numbers.

Like many presidents before him, President Biden made extensive promises during his campaign that simply weren’t possible. Trump, for instance, did the same thing during his campaign: He said that he will make Mexico pay for the new southern border wall. Still, Biden has three years of his presidential term left, so perhaps he can fulfill more of his campaign promises by then. 


Arthur, Andrew R. “Biden: No Deportations for 100 Days, and Only Felonies Thereafter Whatever happened to 'faithfully execute'?” Center for immigration studies, 17 March 2020,

Cortez, Alexandria O. Twitter, 23 February 2021.

c-span. “WATCH: 2020 presidential debate.” 22 October 2020,

Korecki, Natasha, and Christoper Cadelago. “Biden privately tells governors: Minimum wage hike likely isn’t happening.” Politico, 02 18 2021,

Trump, Donald J. “Trump Said at Rally Mexico Will Pay for the Wall In the End.” Yahoo News, 29 May 2018,

United we dream. “Number of confirmed deportations under Biden.”

The White House. “American Rescue plan.”

How Biden Handled his Campaign Promises So Far: Academics
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