Joe Biden is about to sign a slew of new executive orders, this time with a focus on goosing the immigration system to allow as many new people as possible into the country and reversing former President Trump’s successful immigration policies.
Biden on Tuesday will order a major review of asylum processing at the U.S.-Mexico border and the legal immigration system a and he 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 according to White House officials.
Overall, Biden will issue three executive orders dealing with regional migration, legal immigration and reunifying families, the officials said.
Biden will also mandate a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) that sent 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for court hearings in the United States. 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 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 office and will further fuel his pro-immigrant agenda that seeks to erase Trump’s restrictive policies on legal and illegal immigration.
But Biden’s efforts face logistical challenges and opposition from Republicans, according to immigration policy experts, former officials and activists on both sides of the issue.
Lawsuits by conservative groups could potentially slow down Biden’s agenda. A federal judge last week temporarily blocked one of his first immigration moves – a 100-day pause on many deportations – after the Republican-led state of Texas sought an injunction.
Trump won the presidency in 2016 while making border security a major theme of his campaign. If Biden fails to prevent surges in illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, he could give ammunition to Republicans in the 2022 congressional elections, said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst with the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute.
“This is the thing that rallied Donald Trump supporters,” she said.
Biden’s review of Trump’s public charge rule is expected to start the process to rescind it, according to two people familiar with the plan. The rule makes it harder for immigrants who are poor or need government help to secure residency and stay in the country.
It remains unclear whether Biden’s executive orders on Tuesday will address two Trump proclamations that banned the issuance of many work and immigrant visas, which Trump had said would protect American jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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