Biden outlines steps to undo Trump immigration policies


Creates task force on new Americans, orders review of public charge rule for green cards.

President Joe Biden Tuesday issued three executive orders to undo some of former President Donald Trump’s tough immigration policies and reform the regional and legal immigration system and streamline the naturalization process.

Actions include re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans, and calling for a review of Trump’s public charge rule limiting immigrants ability to get green cards if they were deemed likely to rely on public services like food stamps or other social safety nets.

While the orders rescind Trump’s memorandum requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits, it only directs Homeland Security to review the public charge rule.

A second order will create a task force focused on identifying all of the minor children separated from their parents or guardians due to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy in 2018.

Another order aims at addressing the root causes of migration that draw individuals from Central America to the US-Mexico border.

“President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future,” the White House said in a fact sheet outlining the orders.

The executive order on legal immigration “elevates the role of the White House in coordinating the federal government’s strategy to promote immigrant integration and inclusion, including re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans, and ensuring that our legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently.”

READ: Trump reduced legal, not illegal immigration (January 22, 2021)

“The order requires agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have set up barriers to our legal immigration system.”

It also rescinds Trump’s memorandum requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits, instructs the agencies to review the public charge rule and related policies, and streamline the naturalization process.

The Trump administration “enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America’s character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity,” the White House noted.

Biden’s strategy, it said, “is 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, keeps families together, and allows people—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country.

“Biden knows that new Americans fuel our economy, as innovators and job creators, working in every American industry, and contributing to our arts, culture, and government,” the White House said.

On January 20th, the Biden Harris Administration took the first steps in a broad, whole of government effort to finally reform our immigration system, including sending to Congress legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in and contributing to our country, it said.

“Today’s actions build on executive actions the President took on his first day in office, including steps to preserve and fortify protections for Dreamers, end the Muslim and Africa ban, halt border wall construction and protect Liberian nationals living and working in our country,” it said.

READ: Kamala Harris outlines sweeping immigration reform agenda (January 13, 2021)

“On day 1, the President also sent the United States Citizenship Act to Congress, which seeks to modernize our immigration system and smartly manage our borders, while addressing the root causes of migration,” the White House said.

Describing reversing the Trump Administration’s immigration policies that separated thousands of families at the border as a “top priority,” Biden ordered creation of a task force to reunite families that remain separated.

The task force will be charged with reuniting the hundreds of migrant children who still have yet to be brought together with their families, and it will provide regular updates to the president on how to prevent future family separations.

Biden also revoked the Trump Administration’s Executive Order that sought to justify separating children from their parents.

The third order aims at addressing the root causes of migration that draw individuals from Central America to the US-Mexico border.

“The situation at the border will not transform overnight, due in large part to the damage done over the last four years,” the White House  fact sheet states.

“But the President is committed to an approach that keeps our country safe, strong, and prosperous and that also aligns with our values.”

The order also promises a replacement for Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy, which forced migrants to apply for asylum from Mexico rather than in the US.

The Trump administration returned more than 60,000 asylum-seekers to Mexico under the program, leaving people waiting at the border while their case is adjudicated.


‘Biden can remake US immigration policy for the 21st century’ (December 11, 2020)

Biden promises pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented (November 25, 2020)

Biden-Harris ticket vows to increase permanent, employment-based immigration (September 18, 2020)

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