Biden’s broom for Trump’s Immigration Barriers
President Joe Biden signed half a dozen executive orders including immigration amnesty on Wednesday to reverse several hardline immigration policies put in place by former President Donald Trump, although migration experts warn that it will take months or longer to unravel many of the restrictions imposed in the past four years.
In a sharp departure from his Republican predecessor, Biden, a Democrat, also sent an immigration bill to lawmakers that proposes opening a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the United States unlawfully, granting immigration amnesty. Biden also signed an order reversing a Trump order preventing illegal migrants from being counted for congressional districts.
Biden also signed a memorandum directing the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. attorney general to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program protects migrants who came to the country as children from deportation. Biden’s order also reversed Trump’s executive order calling for stricter interior immigration enforcement.
Taken together, the actions show Biden is beginning his presidency with a sharp focus on immigration, just as Trump kept the issue at the center of his policy agenda until the last days of his administration. In one of his rare post-election public appearances, Trump visited a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall earlier this month.
Lifting Travel Ban
The executive actions signed at a ceremony at the White House included immediately lifting a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Biden’s decision to immediately roll back Trump’s travel ban won praise from business groups and migrant advocates. Myron Brilliant, an executive at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the ban was “was not aligned with American values” and its reversal would help “restore our credibility on the global stage.”
Since December 2017, after a revised version of the ban was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, some 40,000 people have been barred from entering the United States under the ban, according to State Department data.
Asylum Protections in US
Biden plans additional executive actions on Jan. 29 to restore U.S. asylum protections, strengthen refugee processing and set up a task force to reunify families still separated by Trump’s border policies, according to a memo shared with lawmakers and obtained by Reuters.
At the same time, the Biden administration will also review barriers to legal immigration put in place by Trump over the past four years, including a regulation that made it harder for poorer immigrants to get permanent residency, the memo said.
The new president is also expected on Jan. 29 to end a Trump program called the Migrant Protection Protocols, according to a person familiar with the plan. The program has left tens of thousands of asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for U.S. court hearings, with many stuck for months in squalid tent camps near the southwest border.