Biden sets course for new ‘fair, safe and orderly’ immigration system

President Biden signed three executive orders February 2 to reform the United States’ immigration system.

These actions follow the January 20 executive order to end discriminatory immigration bans that affected a small group of countries, including some African and Muslim-majority countries.

Man with right hand raised and other holding certificate and small flag (© Charlie Neibergall/AP Images)
Alex Hagen Bright, of Coralville, Iowa, takes the oath of allegiance during a drive-thru naturalization ceremony June 26, 2020, at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa. (© Charlie Neibergall/AP Images)

“This is about how America is safer, stronger, more prosperous when we have a fair, orderly, and humane, and legal immigration system,” Biden said at the signing ceremony.

The three executive orders are designed to restructure the U.S. immigration system to welcome immigrants, keep families together and encourage immigrants to fully contribute to the United States. They also seek to reverse, rescind or modify policies that restricted access and eligibility for seeking protection in the United States.

The executive orders are grounded in a whole-of-government approach to immigration, according to the White House.

The first executive order creates a task force to reunite families that were separated at the U.S. southern border over the past four years. According to media reports, 545 children and 628 parents have not been reunited as of December 2020.

“By the grace of God and the goodwill of neighbors, we’ll reunite these children and reestablish our reputation as being a haven for people in need,” Biden said at the February 2 signing ceremony.

The second executive order proposes a multipronged approach to manage migration in Central America that reflects America’s highest values.

In line with this order, the Biden administration will work to create a brighter future for the people of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — known as the Northern Triangle — by addressing the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras through:

  • Fighting corruption, strengthening democratic governance and advancing the rule of law.
  • Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights and a free press.
  • Countering and preventing violence, extortion and other crimes perpetrated by criminal gangs, trafficking networks and other organized criminal organizations.
  • Combating sexual, gender-based and domestic violence.
  • Addressing economic insecurity and inequality.

The third executive order is aimed at restoring international and national faith in the U.S. legal immigration system by developing strategies that promote integration, inclusion and citizenship of immigrants and refugees in the United States.