Biden Reveals Migrant Families Reunification Task Force

Biden reunification task force BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of The Guardian.

Biden is trying to stay on track to undo the Trump administration’s immigration policies that affected tens of thousands of undocumented people. On Tuesday, February 2, Biden signed three new executive orders, including the family reunification task force. 

In 2018, Trump created the ‘zero tolerance’ policy that separated children from their parents, and hundreds are yet to be reunited with their families. However, Biden’s new order creates a team of people to identify those children and bring them back together with their loved ones. The task force will be giving continuous updates to the president, as well as finding ways to prevent families from being divided in the immigration system. 

Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary for Homeland Security, will lead the task force and immediately begin these orders. 

The short-lived zero-tolerance policy caused severe damage displacing thousands of families, putting them in separate detention facilities, and horrendous stories and pictures of negligence. After bipartisan outrage, Trump halted the separations, but almost three years later, people struggle to reunite with 545 families still separated and nowhere to be found. 

In a statement, Biden said, “I’m not making new law, I’m eliminating bad policy. This is about how America’s safer, stronger, more prosperous when we have a fair, orderly, and humane legal immigration system.”

The next step is to reverse the public charge rule that limits undocumented people from getting green cards and being eligible for public services such as food stamps, for example. Previously under the Trump admin, immigrants had to repay for that help they received.

Finally, the third order is about getting to the bottom of the root causes of migrants coming from Central America to the United States. 

An administration fact sheet read, “The situation at the border will not transform overnight, due in large part to the damage done over the last four years, But the President is committed to an approach that keeps our country safe, strong, and prosperous and that also aligns with our values.”

It also commits to replacing the ‘remain in Mexico’ policy that the Trump administration created for immigrants to apply for asylum in Mexico, not the United States. This program made 60,000 asylum-seekers stay in Mexico, leaving them stranded at the border while waiting to go before the courts.