The latest orders build on actions taken in Biden’s early days in office and begin to provide a clearer picture of Immigration Department’s priorities.
“President Trump was so focused on the wall that he did nothing to address the root cause of people coming to our southern border. It was a limited, wasteful, naive strategy, and it failed,” said a senior administration official. “President Biden’s approach is to treat immigration in a comprehensive, fair and humane manner.”
Legal challenges will likely continue to hurt the administration as it sets its immigration agenda. On Tuesday, Biden is expected to follow day one’s actions by addressing family separation, the root causes of immigration, and the immigration legal system.
The Senate is also expected to confirm Alejandro Mayoras as homeland security minister on Tuesday, after Monday night’s vote was postponed due to the weather.
Forming a working group to reunite families
During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to assemble a task force focused on identifying and reuniting separated families on the US-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s controversial policy of “zero tolerance.” Management’s new work team springs from this promise.
It will be tasked with identifying all children separated from their parents or legal guardians at the southern border, facilitating and enabling the reunification of children with their families, and providing regular reports to the President, including one containing recommendations.
The consequences of the “zero tolerance” policy that separated thousands of families are still being felt today. Lawyers have no access to parents of 611 children separated from their families by US border officials between 2017 and 2018, according to the court’s most recent file in the ongoing family separation case.
“The Biden administration is committed to addressing this terrible damage the Trump administration has inflicted on families,” a senior administration official said, describing the policy as “moral failure” and “national disgrace.”
Cases of separated families will be examined on an individual basis to determine next steps. The official said, “The goal of the task force is to set a goal, but the second goal is to make recommendations on how to unite families, taking into account the list of options that exist under the immigration law.”
Addressing the root causes of migration
This executive order will focus on providing support to Central America to stem the flow of migrants to the US-Mexico border and provide other routes for migration to the United States without traveling north.
The administration plans to provide aid to the region to support anti-corruption initiatives and revive the Central American Minors Program that ended Trump and allows some at-risk youths to live in the United States, according to a senior administration official.
The Biden administration has halted new enrollments in the program, but has not revealed its plans to deal with the thousands of immigrants still waiting in Mexico, saying only that they will be taken into account when developing new regulations.
“The situation at the border will not change overnight,” a senior administration official said. This is due in large part to the damage done over the past four years, but we are committed to treating it fully.
It will also require a series of measures to restore the asylum system, which has been radically changed over the past four years and has made it extremely difficult for immigrants to obtain asylum in the United States.
Review the immigration legal system
This executive order seeks to advance the integration and integration of immigrants, according to the White House, and to re-establish the Task Force for New Americans.
Like other executive orders, it also seeks to reverse Trump-era policies that targeted low-income immigrants, including calling for a review of the public charge law that makes it difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.
It also began with a review of the naturalization process to simplify and make it easier, according to a senior administration official.