February 5, 2021
On February 2, 2021, President Biden signed three executive orders aimed at undoing the Trump Administration’s restrictive immigration policies. These orders primarily direct immigration agencies to review Trump orders, but do not have immediate impacts on current policy.
This order directs the Department of Homeland Security to review policies and protocols related to migration across the southern border, most importantly the Trump Administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as Remain in Mexico, a program which forces foreign nationals seeking asylum at the southern border to stay in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. This has resulted in crowded refugee camps cropping up along the border. These refugees often have no access to legal counsel and are not protected by the perpetrators of the violence they are fleeing. President Biden has ordered Customs and Border Protection to stop assigning new foreign nationals to MPP and this executive order will prompt DHS to determine how to manage the estimated 20,000 individuals currently in Mexico awaiting a decision on their asylum application.
This order directs the Department of Homeland Security to create a task force to focus on reunifying the hundreds of children with their families, who were separated at the southern border due to President Trump’s “Zero-Tolerance Policy”.
This order is a general directive to review the majority of the Trump Administrations restrictive immigration policies that have “set up barriers to our legal immigration system.” One such policy that will be reviewed is the new framework by which USCIS decides whether a prospective permanent resident or nonimmigrant is likely to become a public charge, which has been strongly criticized by the immigration community for precluding eligible foreign nationals from becoming permanent residents based on a long list of subjective factors.
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