Here’s what Biden has done so far to roll back Trump’s policies since taking office on Jan. 20:
ASYLUM AND REGIONAL MIGRATION
Biden issued three executive orders dealing with asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, legal immigration and reunifying families. The asylum-focused order mandated a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a controversial program that pushed 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for U.S. court hearings. The Biden administration has stopped adding people to the program but it has not yet outlined how it will process the claims of those already enrolled.
Biden’s executive order on legal immigration called for a review of a Trump-era rule that made it harder for poorer immigrants to obtain permanent residency in the United States. The review of the so-called “public charge” rule is expected to start the process to rescind it, according to two people familiar with the plan.
Biden created a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by Trump’s 2018 “zero tolerance” border strategy. The task force, which will be led by U.S. Department of Homeland (DHS) Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, will consider the possibility of issuing visas or using other forms of immigration relief to reunite separated families.
IMMIGRATION REFORM AND ‘DREAMERS’
Biden sent an immigration reform bill to key lawmakers on his first day in office that would provide an eight-year pathway to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million people living in the country unlawfully. The proposal would also offer permanent protection for young migrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, known as “Dreamers.” Started by former President Barack Obama, the program provides deportation protection and other benefits to approximately 645,000 people.
TRAVEL AND VISA BANS
On his first day in office, Biden rescinded Trump’s controversial travel ban blocking travelers from 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries. Trump issued the ban shortly after taking office in 2017, sparking protests and legal challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a revised version of the ban in 2018. During the coronavirus pandemic, Trump also issued proclamations blocking the entry of many temporary foreign workers and applicants for green cards. While Biden has criticized the restrictions, he has not yet moved to reverse them.
Biden on his first day in office repealed a 2017 Trump executive order that intensified U.S. immigration enforcement within the country. Following Biden’s rescission, the then-acting DHS secretary issued a memo that outlined new priorities for enforcement. The memo called for immigration officers to prioritize national security threats, people who arrived in the United States on or after Nov. 1, 2020, and people with certain criminal convictions who are determined to be a public safety threat. The DHS memo also ordered a 100-day pause on many deportations so that DHS could focus its resources on border management amid the coronavirus pandemic. The state of Texas challenged the deportation moratorium in court days later and a federal judge temporarily blocked it on Jan. 26.
After taking office, Biden immediately paused construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, with some exceptions, and ended an emergency declaration that helped authorize funding for it. Biden also directed a review of the legality of funding and contracting methods used for wall construction and supported plans to redirect funding.