On Tuesday February 2, 2021, President Biden signed three executive orders regarding immigration to reverse the Trump administration's previous policies. One of the executive orders will create a team that will reunite children separated at the border with their parents. Shortly after signing the executive orders, President Biden spoke with reporters and stated that he is eliminating the zero-tolerance policy, which separated many minors from their parents.
The first executive order is not clear about which families will be eligible for reunification; the task force will be responsible for recognizing all of the children separated from their parents at the border under the zero-tolerance policy former President Trump created. A federal lawsuit in the Southern District of California has identified 600 children separated from their families at the border before April 6, 2018. The focus of the executive order is reunifications within the United States. The executive order does not address the possibility of allowing deported parents entering the U.S. to reunite with their children and does not offer any redress to parents who chose deportation to the country they had initially decided to flee while their children stayed in the U.S.
The second executive order is to review legal immigration programs that allow a certain number of children from Central America to legally enter the United States and reunite with a family member who lives in the U.S. Former President Trump terminated this program in 2017, leaving thousands of children stranded. The order would also review the "Remain in Mexico" policy (also known as “MPP”) created by former President Trump, which left thousands of asylum seekers at the northern Mexico border living in dangerous conditions while waiting for their hearings in immigration court. Please note that the order does not eliminate the MPP program and thousands of asylum seekers are still waiting in Mexico.
The third executive order is to review the "public charge" policy that penalizes legal immigrants who use public benefits. This policy reduces the chances of these immigrants obtaining their green cards. The third executive order reviews the rest of the Trump administration's immigration policies to determine what to eliminate or overturn. Lastly, the order includes the creation of a task force to promote the inclusive integration of new Americans.
While we commend President Biden for signing these important Executive Orders, they do not go far enough. The orders do not address the visa bans enacted by President Trump and they keep hundreds of thousands of immigrants in limbo. Many of these people’s lives are in danger each day they are forced to wait outside the United States.
If you have any questions regarding how these executive orders may impact your case, please call Pikes Peak Immigration to schedule a consultation or meeting.