Biden Halts Border Wall Construction and Rescinds Trump's Muslim Ban
The new president started his term by signing a series of executive orders about immigration.
President Joe Biden took office on Wednesday, and his first order of business was undoing various immigration restrictions put in place by Donald Trump. He signed a series of executive orders to end some of the most notorious policies, including one that will halt the construction of the Mexico border wall and another that revokes Trump's plan to exclude non-citizens from future census counts.
Biden also signed a presidential memorandum extending Deferred Enforced Departure until June 30, 2022, which will offer relief for people from countries facing unrest or natural disasters. "There's a long way to go. These are just executive actions," Biden said, speaking as president in the Oval Office for the first time. "But we're going to need legislation for a lot of these we're going to do."
Biden also rescinded Trump's travel ban, which largely targeted Muslim countries, and made it clear he plans to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA allows undocumented young people to remain in the U.S. and work legally, but Trump attempted to end the program many times. Biden signed an executive order asking Congress to enact legislation that would provide permanent status and a path to citizenship for DACA recipients.
Furthermore, the new administration plans to propose a new bill that would include an easier way for many to gain citizenship, grant automatic green cards to protected undocumented immigrants, and add immigration judges to decrease court hearing backlogs.
The bill will also provide $4 billion in funding to assist El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, to set up safe and legal ways for immigrants from those countries to seek protection. The bill will be sent to Congress next Wednesday, and if passed will be the largest legislative immigration policy since the Reagan administration.
A group of House Democrats, led by California Representative Linda Sanchez, announced they will lead the effort to pass the bill; Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey will lead the bill on the Senate side.