President Biden signed three Executive Orders on Tuesday aimed at his predecessor’s hardline immigration policies and tried to correct them by setting up a task force to bring together families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The new orders build on steps taken during Biden’s first days, and they’re beginning to shine a light on the administration’s immigration objectives.
The orders signed Tuesday primarily guide policy reviews and have no immediate impact concerning immigration attorney and advocates who are falling over each other for answers to the future of migrants subject to Trump-era’s policies.
Hours later into office, Biden fast swung into a series of administrative measures to overturn many Trump administration policies. He also submitted a bill to Congress for immigration. However, his administration has also encountered legal challenges in enforcing such policies. For instance, a federal judge halted Biden last week’s 100-day deportation delay, as the lawsuit proceeds.
Family Reunification Task Force
During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to create a task force to identify and reintegrate families separated at the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s divisive zero-tolerance policy. Biden’s presidential campaign pledge breathes life into the new task force of the administration comes.
The Task Force will be led by Homeland Security secretary, work across the US government, its partners, and locate parents separated from their children. In the past, it was widely reported that Jill Biden, the first lady, would assume an active role in the task force. Also involved would be the Secretary of State, Health and Human Services, and the attorney general.
The task force is mandated to identify all children separated from their parents or legal guardians at the southern borders, facilitate and allow children to be brought together with their families, and provide the President with regular reports, including one containing recommendations.
The repercussions that led to the separation of thousands of families from each other by the “zero tolerance” policy are still felt to date. According to latest court filings on an on-going family separation lawsuit, lawyers cannot contact parents of 611 children separated from their families by US border officers between 2017 and 2018.
The Biden administration commits to remedying the awful harm the Trump administration inflicted on families. The Trump-era policy has been dubbed as a “moral failure” and “national shame” in some quarters.
President Biden has termed the policy a “stain” on the reputation of United States. The Biden administration looks to leverage God’s grace & the goodwill of the US neighbours to reunite the children and re-establish the United States’ reputation as being a haven for people in need.
Last week in a letter to the federal prosecutors, the Department of Justice formally revoked the policy, despite having been ended. To decide the next steps, separated families will be evaluated on an individual basis. The task force’s aim first, involves identifying and secondly, recommending how families can reunite, considering the menu of options existing under immigration laws.
Dealing with migration root causes
The Executive Order will help Central America stop the migrants’ influx into the United States-Mexico borders and offer other migration routes in the United States without moving north.
Biden’s administration plans to provide funding to the region to bolster programs to fight corruption and revitalize the Central America minors program terminated by Trump, which would allow at-risk young people to live in the United States.
Homeland Security shall also review the Trump-era policy that allows non-Mexico migrants to be in Mexico for a while until their immigration court date in the United States. The policy, informally dubbed “Remain in Mexico,” has consigned thousands of asylum seekers unsafe and in deplorable conditions at the border.
The Biden administration has stopped registration into the program. However, it did not divulge its intentions to deal with the thousands of migrants already waiting in Mexico, only to say they will be considered when new programs get implemented.
US border officials heavily relied on a Trump Public Health Directive, which allowed the expulsion of migrants apprehended at the border.
Tuesday’s Order does not state if this policy will terminate immediately. Still, it directs the Secretary of Homeland Security in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the attorney general, & the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start taking measures to restore secure and proper reception and processing of asylum-seekers in line with public health, safety and capacity limits.
The Order also intends to review the other Trump asylum laws that make it incredibly difficult to seek refuge in the United States. It states that the United States aims to “suspend and terminate” the agreements signed with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that permitted the US to send migrants seeking asylum to those countries instead of lending a sanctuary.
The Order also intends to review the “expedited removal,” fast-track deportation procedure that enables immigration authorities to remove a person without an audience before an immigration judge for a hearing.
A review of the legal immigration framework
The Executive Order is intended, according to The White House, to encourage immigrant integration and inclusion, and re-create a New Americans Task Force. Identical to other executive orders, Tuesday’s Order looks to amend the Trump period policies that targeted low-income immigrants; review the public charge rule, that makes it more difficult for immigrants to get legal status if they use public benefits like stamps, Medicaid and housing vouchers.
The Order also offers a revision to simplify and make naturalization process more accessible. The streamlining involves developing a strategy to remove process bottlenecks, reduce processing times and make the process simpler for qualifying individuals.