Proposes path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, protects DACA.
Quickly turning the page on Trump era’s restrictive immigration policies, the Biden-Harris administration ordered a 100-day “pause” on deportations as it sent a bill to Congress proposing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The steps were part of 15 executive actions President Joe Biden took on his first day in office Wednesday to roll back some of former President Donald Trump’s actions on the immigration and other fronts.
“No time to start like today,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon as he signed the first three actions.
“There’s a long way to go. These are just executive actions,” he said. “But we’re going to need legislation for a lot of these we’re going to do.”
White House officials have said the actions signed Wednesday are just the first of many to come over the next several weeks.
“The president’s priority reflected in the bill [is] to responsibly manage the border, keep families together, grow our economy, address the root causes of migration from Central America, and ensure that America can remain a refuge for those fleeing [persecution],” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
Later, Acting Department Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske issued a memorandum to “review and reset enforcement policies and set interim policies for civil enforcement while the Department develops its final priorities.”
Part of that includes a 100-day pause, beginning Friday, of “certain non-citizens ordered deported.”
“The pause will allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces, including immediate operational challenges at the southwest border in the midst of the most serious global public health crisis in a century,” DHS said in a statement.
“Throughout this interim period DHS will continue to enforce our immigration laws.”
Biden had promised to implement a 100-day moratorium during the 2020 campaign, and the order from DHS fulfills that promise. It would apply to any non-citizen with a final order of removal with very limited exceptions.
It would exclude those who, according to a written finding by the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has engaged in terrorism or espionage or who poses a danger to national security.
Earlier Wednesday, Biden also signed a memorandum to protect the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields immigrants brought to the country illegally as children from deportation.
Biden’s memorandum directs the DHS secretary to take appropriate action under the law to preserve the Obama era program that Trump had sought to end, but was rebuffed by the Supreme Court.
Biden’s immigration plan includes an eight-year path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the US. It would also grant immediate green cards for DACA and Temporary Protected Status(TPS) recipients.
The bill also aims to clear visa backlogs, improve immigration courts and authorize funding for border technology.
Another Biden executive order halts the construction of the wall at the southern border while the administration studies whether it can redivert money that has been assigned to additional wall mileage.
A third executive order putting an end to what the administration described as “the Muslim ban” — which refers to the travel bans placed on predominantly Muslim and African countries by Trump over national security concerns.
Google donates $250,000 to cover 500 Dreamers’ DACA applications (January 13, 2021)
Judge restores Obama-era DACA program (December 5,2020)