Wednesday, October 20

Biden makes progress on immigration reform, but avoids repealing all of Trump’s measures | International

Two people cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez to El Paso (Texas).
Two people cross the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez to El Paso (Texas).JOSE LUIS GONZALEZ / Reuters

President Joe Biden is pressing ahead in his determination to reverse, using his executive branch, the hostile system towards immigration that his predecessor built. This Tuesday he signed three new decrees aimed at ending more deterrent measures imposed by Trump on the Mexican border. The offensive makes clear his intention to change the tone, but does not hide the caution with which his Administration is advancing in this extremely delicate terrain. In the midst of the pandemic and with a spike in arrests at the border, the decrees approved do not immediately cancel the controversial measures of their predecessor, but instead commission revisions and request time to design a new framework. “I am not making new laws, I am eliminating bad policies,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

Two of the decrees Biden signed on Tuesday are aimed at addressing the root causes of immigration. The third tries to put the means to reunite with their parents the minors separated from their families on the border with Mexico. This latest executive order, aimed at correcting one of the most criticized measures of President Donald Trump, entrusts the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, to lead a task force that will find a way to identify and reunite separated families in border.

Trump’s heavy-handed policy against those trying to cross into the United States, in an attempt to discourage the entry of undocumented migrants, included in 2018 the controversial measure to separate parents and children. More than 5,000 families were affected by a measure that a senior Administration official, in conversation with journalists, referred to as “a moral failure and a national shame.” With the other two decrees signed on Tuesday, Biden orders an in-depth review of Trump’s immigration policies that limited the right to asylum, cut funding to foreign countries and tightened the requirements to obtain residency and nationality, slowing the arrival of legal migration to the country.

“President Biden’s strategy centers on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger and more prosperous with a safer, orderly and humane immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and enables people to contribute more fully to our country, “the same official told reporters.

The kitchenware is clear. President Biden underscores his commitment to the election promises he made during the campaign. But the executive offensive also shows the limited scope of their maneuvering room to reverse the policies in force. This Tuesday’s orders, like the others that he has been dedicating these weeks to the immigration issue, do not imply immediate real changes, but rather give time to the corresponding departments to determine ways to annul the current framework. The Administration itself recognizes that some of Trump’s border control measures will have to remain in place for a time.

On the issue of family separations, Biden plans to bring the children’s parents to the United States or send the children with their parents to the countries in which they reside, depending on current legislation and the wishes of their own. families. Mayorkas, a former Californian prosecutor of Cuban origin, confirmed this Tuesday in the Senate as Secretary of National Security, will be responsible for designing the solutions, leading the working group that will also include the Secretary of State and the Attorney General.

Regarding the asylum application protocols imposed by the Trump Administration, which sent about 60,000 applicants to wait outside the United States while the courts studied their requests, the Biden decrees do not repeal them but rather subject them to review. The protocols will not be applied to new applicants, but those whose applications are being considered will not be invited to return to US soil, until it is decided how to dismantle the program. The measures that, protected by the emergency of the coronavirus pandemic, will also remain in force, allowing the border authorities to immediately expel those who cross illegally. These measures, according to the Department of Homeland Security, are still necessary to prevent the spread of covid in the dependencies where undocumented immigrants are held. They assure that the measures will be replaced by other more humane ones, but that they need more time.

Detentions at the border have spiked since the November elections, surpassing 70,000 each month, according to the latest statistics. The Biden Administration’s plan is to transform immigration policy by addressing the “root causes” of Central American immigration, arguing that Trump’s efforts to build a border wall, of little or no effectiveness in practice, led to the neglect of acting in the causes that lead people to emigrate.

The stoppage of the construction of the wall is another of the immigration measures taken by Biden in his first days in the White House, to which the decrees of this Tuesday are added. The Democratic president also signed an executive order asking his government to take all steps to preserve and strengthen DACA, the program that protects minors who came to the country illegally with their parents from deportation. He has ordered a freeze on most deportations for 100 days, and has sent Congress a proposal for legislation that provides for the regularization of the 11 million undocumented persons estimated to live in the country within eight years, once It is verified that they meet some requirements such as that they do not have a criminal record and that they are up to date with the payment of taxes.

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