Three New Immigration-Related Executive Orders from the White House

On February 2, 2021, the White House held “Immigration Day” whereby President Biden signed three additional executive orders geared towards immigration reform and undoing the policies of his predecessor.

Among these three new executive orders, which showcase the new administration’s goals related to the reunification of families, understanding and addressing the root causes of Migration throughout North and Central America, and restoring faith in the legal immigration systems, are the following:

The first of the three executive orders address the overall legal immigration system in the United States, and how to improve it. The Order points to the 40 million foreign-born individuals currently living in the United States and how to promote integration and to coordinate implementation an effective domestic policy on immigration.

While the plan is quite broad, the current administration plans to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions (collectively, “agency actions”) that may be inconsistent with the policy set for in the Order. The review will identify current barriers that impede access to immigration benefits and promote efficient and fair adjudications. Among many topics to review, immigration professionals anticipate that this may lead to the necessary death of the unduly burdensome Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency.

Within the first 90 days, the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security will be required to submit a plan to President Biden describing the steps their agencies will take to advance the policies described above, and within 180 days, the named individuals will provide a progress report.

The second executive order recognizes that in order to fix the immigration system, there must first be greater understanding of the root causes of irregular migrations and considerable collaborative management of migration in the region. These strategies will generally include expanding lawful pathways for protection and opportunity in the United States and restoring and enhancing asylum processing at the border.

The final of three executive orders serves to hasten the reunification of children separated from their families at the United States-Mexico border. The Order will establish an interagency task force to unify families by identifying those children who were separated from their families at the United States-Mexico border between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021 in connection with the operations of the Zero-Tolerance Policy from the previous administration.