President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this week aimed at “restoring faith” in the U.S. immigration system.
The new measure orders the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive review of recent regulations and policies to ensure they align with the government’s goal of promoting “integration, inclusion and citizenship” during the Biden administration.
“President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future,” the White House wrote in a press release about the order. “The prior administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America’s character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity.”
During the review, the agencies will:
- Identify barriers that impede access to immigration benefits and fair, efficient adjudications of these benefits, and make recommendations regarding how to remove these barriers.
- Identify any agency actions that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system and recommend steps to revise or rescind those agency actions.
The order also calls for an immediate evaluation of the ‘public charge’ rule. The controversial policy, implemented by the Trump administration, established extensive regulations for determining whether a foreign national would be deemed inadmissible to the U.S. based upon the likelihood of requiring government assistance at any time in the future.
“President Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair, safe and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people — both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations — to more fully contribute to our country,” the press release from the White House read.
Additionally, the order instructs an interagency working group to “develop a national strategy to promote naturalization” and revoked a May 2019 memo issued by the Trump administration which required family sponsors to repay the government if a relative received public benefits.
Biden also signed executive actions this week that formed a task force to reunify families separated at U.S. borders during the Trump administration and ordered the development of a strategy to “provide safe and orderly processing of asylum seekers” as well as address the “causes of migration.”
Other immigration actions taken by Biden
Biden has issued multiple other executive orders and proclamations related to immigration during his first few weeks in the White House.
On his first day in office, Biden issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to “preserve and fortify” the DACA program; rescinded travel bans on foreign nationals seeking visas and entry to the United States from certain majority Muslim and African countries; and sent draft legislation to Congress.
Biden also reinstated a COVID-19 related international travel ban that was set to expire and added South Africa to the list of countries included in the measure.