In early February, Biden signed several executive orders, three of which center on immigration reform. These orders, which are still being fully formed, have been on the new president’s agenda since winter 2019. While on the campaign trail, Biden said he would do his best to reunite separated families. Trump’s immigration policy included a family separation ‘zero tolerance’ policy which divided children from parents.
Biden also put relaunching DACA on the agenda—which will be part of future plans. The president has been in office for just three weeks and has already fulfilled several campaign promises. He’s already well on his way to relaunching DACA and creating real change that benefits the country without turning away those in need and in search of the American Dream.
Here’s what Biden is hoping to accomplish with each executive order.
Families Will be Reunited
Biden’s first executive order will create a task force responsible for reuniting children and families separated through Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy. The policy, which lasted for one year was ended through another executive order. The order to remove the policy was only made after heavy public backlash. Much of the country did not support dividing and encapsulating children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally with their families. In total, more than 5,500 children were taken away from their parents and guardians.
It will be the job of this new task force to determine how families will be reunited and the priority of each case with respect to one another. For the 600 children whose families have been lost track of—the job will be more complex. The plan also includes mental health support to help families process their experiences.
Seeking Asylum Will be Streamlined
The second executive order addresses the treatment of individuals requesting to enter the U.S. on the basis of asylum. Previously, individuals waited across the border for their court hearings to take place. This practice was part of Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols program. Under this new order, such practices will be reviewed and streamlined so that those in danger do not experience long wait times for hearings. Changes may be made to increase the safety of asylum seekers as well.
In the last two years, more than 70,000 individuals have had to return to Mexico to await their court hearings, with average wait times of at least one month. Many are hopeful that the new president’s immigration reform will allow asylum seekers to stay in the U.S. until their trials.
Immigration Will Be Possible
The final executive order signed last week mandates a review of current U.S. immigration policy. During this review, officials will analyze which immigration rules in place now serve to alienate and obstruct U.S. citizen hopefuls. Following this review, the committee will move to create some immigration reform. The goal of this order is to his order to make obtaining green-cards a greater possibility for immigrants grasping for the ‘American Dream.’
Although vague, this executive order allows the Biden administration to look at immigration policy and processes holistically. On the subject of these orders, Biden stated, “America is safer, stronger, more prosperous when we have a fair, orderly, and humane, and legal immigration system.”