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 families separated during the three months in which Trump’s immigration policy included a family separation ‘zero tolerance’ policy. 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 and was ended through another executive order inspired by public backlash, detained children of families who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. In total, more than 5,500 children were taken away from their parents and other relatives.
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 those who request to enter the U.S. through asylum. Previously, these individuals had to wait across the border for their court hearings as a result of Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols program. Under this order, such practices will be reviewed and streamlined. 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 will advocate allowing asylum seekers to remain in the U.S. while awaiting trial.
Immigration Will Be Possible
The final executive order signed last week mandates a review of current U.S. immigration policy. During this review, special attention will be given to rules that only serve to alienate and obstruct those hoping to become U.S. citizens. It’s possible this order will lead to changes that could help more immigrants receive green cards. This executive order is vague but allows the Biden administration to look at things in a holistic manner. On the subject of these executive orders, Biden stated, “America is safer, stronger, more prosperous when we have a fair, orderly, and humane, and legal immigration system.”