Biden to issue executive orders on asylum, legal immigration, separated families
U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday will order a major review of asylum processing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the legal immigration system as he seeks to undo some of former President Donald Trump’s hard-line policies, two senior administration officials said on Monday evening.
Biden on Tuesday will also create a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by Trump’s 2018 “zero tolerance” border strategy, the officials said on a call with reporters.
Overall, Biden will issue three executive orders dealing with regional migration, legal immigration and reunifying families, the officials said.
As part of the actions, he will call for a review of a Trump-era rule that made it harder for poorer immigrants to obtain permanent residency in the United States, they said. He will also mandate a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a controversial program that pushed 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for U.S. court hearings. Most returned to their home countries but some remained in a makeshift camp near the Mexican border.
The Biden administration has already stopped adding people to the program but crucially it has not yet outlined how it will process the claims of those already enrolled.
“I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take to put in an alternative to that policy,” one of the senior officials said on Monday in response to a reporter’s question about processing people enrolled in the program.
Chad Wolf, former acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary under Trump, said in an interview that halting the MPP program was a mistake because it had been an effective deterrent to illegal immigration.
“If you do have a surge (of migrants), you’re taking one of your tools off the table,” he said in reference to the program.
Biden’s actions on Tuesday will follow six immigration orders he issued on his first day in the office and will further jumpstart his ambitious pro-immigrant agenda that seeks to erase Trump’s restrictive policies on legal and illegal immigration.