US President Joe Biden (File image: Reuters)
US President Joe Biden will sign three executive orders on Tuesday on immigration, including creating a task force to reunify families that were separated at the border by the Trump administration's policies, and to ensure that the legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently.
According to the White House, Biden, who will sign the executive orders, believes that "immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to American aspirations for the future."
The previous Trump administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to American 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, it said.
"This Executive Order will elevate the role of the White House in coordinating the federal government’s strategy to promote immigrant integration and inclusion, including re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans, and ensuring that the legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently," the White House said.
The order requires agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have set up barriers to the legal immigration system.
It will also rescind former president Donald Trump’s memorandum requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits, instruct the agencies to review the public charge rule and related policies, and streamline the naturalisation process.
Hours after being sworn in as the 46th US President, Biden on January 20 took the first steps in a broad, whole of government effort to finally reform America's immigration system, including sending to Congress legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in and contributing to the country.
Officials said Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that the US 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 the country.
“Biden knows that new Americans fuel our economy, as innovators and job creators, working in every American industry, and contributing to our arts, culture, and government,” the White House said.
According to senior administration officials, Biden believes that families belong together.
He has made clear that reversing the Trump administration’s immigration policies that separated thousands of families at the border is a top priority.
A key part of this effort is the creation of a task force to reunite families that remain separated.
“This task force will work across the US government, with key stakeholders and representatives of impacted families, and with partners across the hemisphere to find parents and children separated by the Trump Administration,” said the officials.
The task force will make recommendations to the President and federal agencies regarding steps that they can take to reunify families.
Further, the task force will report regularly to the President and recommend steps to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.
President Biden's Executive Order will also revoke the Trump administration’s Executive Order that sought to justify separating children from their parents.
The Trump administration oversaw the separation of over 5,500 families — and the parents of more than 600 children still have not been located, according to US media reports.