Factbox: What Biden plans to do next on immigration this week

January 26, 2021 2:43 PM EST

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden swears in presidential appointees in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, after his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Tom

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By Ted Hesson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden is expected on Friday to issue executive orders on asylum resettlement and reunification of migrant families, among other issues, according to a Biden transition team memo shared with lawmakers and interviews with two people familiar with the plans.

Biden, a Democrat, has vowed to reverse many policies put in place by former Republican President Donald Trump, a process that could take months or years.

The White House declined to comment and people familiar with discussions cautioned that plans could change.


Biden plans to rescind some Trump policies that made it harder to obtain asylum in the United States, according to the memo. The specific policies that would be reversed are not named.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Wednesday after Biden took office that it would end all enrollments in the Migrant Protection Protocols, a Trump administration program that has forced more than 65,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for U.S. immigration court hearings.

The Biden administration has not said what will happen to migrants already enrolled in the program, but DHS stated in its announcement last week they should "remain where they are" and await further U.S. government instruction.

Biden will also direct U.S. agencies to create strategies to address the root causes of migration from Central America and expand opportunities for migrants to come to the United States legally, the memo said.


Biden will create a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by Trump's immigration policies.

Biden pledged during his presidential campaign to create a task force to reunite children and parents separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Parties in a lawsuit over the separations have been unable to reach the parents of more than 600 children, according to a court filing this month.


Biden is expected to issue an executive order that would remove barriers to legal immigration and citizenship.

As part of that effort, the order will begin the process of rescinding Trump's so-called "public charge" rule, which makes it harder for immigrants who are poor or need certain government benefits to secure residency and stay in the country, according to two people familiar with the plans.


Biden is expected to lay out principles that will guide his administration's global refugee policy.

Biden has pledged to raise annual refugee intake levels to 125,000, up from the record-low 15,000-person ceiling set by Trump for fiscal year 2021, which began on Oct. 1, 2020.

The new actions expected on Friday come after Biden issued six immigration-themed executive orders on Jan. 20.

The orders last week included immediately lifting a travel ban on 13 mostly Muslim-majority and African countries, halting construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and reversing a Trump order preventing migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted for congressional districts.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington; Editing by Ross Colvin and Aurora Ellis)

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