Joe Biden is set to create a task force to reunify families separated at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration, as part of a new series of executive immigration actions.
The other two orders to be announced Tuesday call for a review of changes the Trump administration made to reshape U.S. immigration and programs to address the forces that are driving people north, senior Biden administration officials said.
An informational document said that Biden’s immigration plans are “centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger and more prosperous with a fair, safe and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, maintains united to families and enables people – both recently arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations – to contribute more fully to our country ”.
A centerpiece of Tuesday’s actions is the family reunification task force, which is charged with identifying and enabling the reunification of all children separated from their families by the Trump administration.
The government first made the separations public with a memorandum from April 2018, but nearly 1,000 families were secretly separated in the previous months. Administration officials said children from both groups would be included in the reunification process.
Biden officials said they could not say how many children should be reunited because the policy was implemented without a method to track separated families. In an ongoing court case, a reunification committee said in December that the parents of 628 children had not been located.
The task force will be made up of government officials and will be led by Biden’s candidate for Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who will be confirmed Tuesday.
A senior administration official said that the family separation policy was a “moral failure and a national shame” and that reversing the policies that made it possible was a priority.
Tuesday’s second action is aimed at addressing the driving forces behind migration from Central and South America. Senior administration officials said this includes working with governments and nonprofit organizations to increase the capacities of other countries to receive migrants and ensure that Central American refugees and asylum seekers have legal avenues to enter the United States.
It also directs the secretary of homeland security to review the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as Remain in Mexico, which require asylum seekers to wait for their court hearings in Mexican border cities rather than in the United States. like before.
The Biden administration also plans to use this action to revive some Obama-era policies, such as the Central American Minors (CAM) program, which allowed some minors to apply for refugee status from their home countries.
The Trump administration did more than 400 changes to reshape immigration, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and Biden’s third action includes a review of some of these recent efforts to restrict legal immigration.
This includes a revision of the public charge rule, which the Trump administration expanded to allow the federal government to deny green cards and visas to immigrants if they used public benefits. Although the rule was repeatedly suspended due to lawsuits, its initial introduction created a chilling effect in immigrant communities, with families withdrawing from aid programs due to concerns about its effect on them and the immigration status of their families.
Administration officials said changes in US immigration would not happen “overnight” and that there would be more executive orders.
Advocates are still waiting for policies that address immigration detention and Title 42, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ban on asylum seekers and refugees during the Covid-19 outbreak. An estimated 13,000 unaccompanied migrant children were deported under the order before it was temporarily blocked by a court in November.
On the first day of Biden’s tenure, he signed six executive actions on immigration to rescind the travel ban for people from Muslim-majority countries and stop funding for the construction of the border wall. He also reversed Trump’s policy that eliminated deportation priorities.
Since taking office, Biden has also introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress, imposed a 100-day moratorium on deportations, which has since been blocked in federal court, and struck down the “zero tolerance” policy. that allowed family separations at the border. .
On Monday, the Biden administration asked the United States Supreme Court to cancel oral arguments on two upcoming cases brought by Trump over the border wall and Remain in Mexico. The cases could be effectively moot due to Biden’s actions as president.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism