President Biden Signs Three Orders on Immigration, Rolls Back Trump’s Policy

Politics | February 3, 2021, Wednesday // 12:26|  views

President Biden on Tuesday signed three executive orders on immigration, including one to create a task force to reunify migrants separated under the Trump administration -- part of a sweeping push by Biden to roll back his predecessor’s immigration policies.

"I’m not making new law, I'm eliminating bad policy," Biden said from the Oval Office. "What I'm doing is taking on the issues that, 99 percent of them, that the last President of the United States issued executive orders I thought were very counterproductive to our security, counterproductive to who we are as a country, particularly in the area of immigration."

One of the orders will create a task force to push forward with the reunification of migrants who were separated from family members at the border during the Trump administration via the "zero tolerance" policy.

That policy stopped the practice of adults being admitted to the U.S. when claiming asylum if they were accompanying a child. Due to court orders preventing minors from being held in detention for more than a few weeks, it meant that children were placed in care or transferred to relatives in the U.S., while parents or guardians were deported. 

The Trump administration eventually reversed the policy amid a backlash, and migrant activists have been calling for those who were removed to be allowed back in to be reunited and even given green cards as compensation.

A senior administration official told reporters that the task force recommendations would take into account "the menu of options that exist under immigration, the appropriate issuance of visas or other immigration benefits."  

The new task force will work to find those who were separated, and make recommendations to Biden and other agencies regarding steps that can be taken.

A second order will implement a three-part strategy to address "irregular migration" at the southern border. It includes the development of a strategy to tackle the instability and other factors that drive migrants north, in collaboration with other countries.

It also directs the Department of Homeland Security to review the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) which Biden promised to end. The protocols, known as the Remain-in-Mexico policy, keep migrants south of the border while their immigration hearings are underway rather than admitting them into the homeland.

Critics have called the policy cruel and one that puts migrants in danger. But Trump officials have warned that the policy ends one of the key pull factors for migrants, and ending it could result in chaos and a wave of illegal immigration.

"In the first weeks of his administration, President Biden has clearly signaled that sanctuary policies will be strengthened, access to public benefits will be increased, asylum fraud will be rewarded, and detentions and removals will all but cease," Stein said in a statement.

Former acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan told Fox News on Tuesday that the move was "another significant step reinstating incentives for and loopholes to be exploited by migrants to enter our country illegally."

"With another stroke of a pen, Biden is doubling down on his open border strategies, encouraging illegal migration, and creating the next crisis to reach our borders," he said. "Within two weeks of this new administration our borders are less secure, our country less safe, and the mission of our front line personnel has become more dangerous. "The order does end a number of asylum policies that the Biden administration claims have closed to the border to asylum seekers.

Finally, on legal immigration, the third order signed on Tuesday will set up a review of Trump-era policies on that form of immigration, and will "streamline" the naturalization process and instruct agencies to review the public charge rule – which limited green cards to immigrants are deemed likely to be reliant on welfare.

"The executive order includes a review of many regulations, orders, guidance, documents, and policies that the Trump administration put in place over the last four years," a senior administration official said. "The review will be conducted by the State Department, the Department of Justice and DHS and assess which policies are inconsistent with the federal government's desire to promote integration and inclusion, citizenship and the full participation of our newest Americans."  

The dramatic changes -- on top of a slew of orders in Biden’s first week that ended the building of the wall, strengthened the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, reversed Trump-era travel restrictions on countries deemed a security risk, and sought to imposed a 100-day pause on deportations -- face stiff Republican opposition.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., accused Biden of rolling back gains made by the Trump administration in cracking down on illegal immigration.

"The refusal to continue building the border wall and changing Trump asylum policies requiring migrants to wait in Mexico for their court date are formulas for disaster and will create massive future runs on the border," he said in a statement. "The caravans will start to flow again, and America will be under siege once again by new waves of migrants responding to the Biden Administration’s weak policies on immigration. 


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Tags: US, Joe Biden, immigration policy


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