Since his inauguration, President Joe Biden has taken numerous actions to dial back harmful Trump-era immigration policies and improve the existing legal framework of our immigration system. We’ve put together this guide on actions taken thus far by the Biden administration, and we will continue to update this resource as needed.
Executive Actions: Day One
On Jan. 20, his first day in office, President Biden took multiple actions on immigration. These included the unveiling of proposed legislation to reform the American immigration system, the repeal of Trump-era policies, and a slew of new executive orders.
- Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): President Biden issued a memorandum directing the secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the U.S. attorney general, to take all appropriate actions under the law to preserve and fortify DACA.
- Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States: President Biden signed a proclamation rescinding the Muslim ban and African ban (Proclamation 9983) in their entirety.
- Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities and Moratorium on Deportations: President Biden issued an executive order to revoke the immigration enforcement priorities set by the Trump administration, which made virtually everyone a target for detention and deportation.
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum directing the review of policies and practices concerning immigration enforcement, and set interim policies during the course of that review, including a 100-day pause on removals effective no later than Jan.22, 2021. Deportations, however, have proceeded despite the executive order, particularly deportations of Black immigrants.
- Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians: The president reinstated DED for Liberians who had DED grants as of Jan. 10, 2021, and directed the secretary of Homeland Security to provide them with work authorizations through June 30, 2022. The memo also directs DHS to review Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) application procedures and revise them to facilitate timely processing.
- Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census: This executive order revokes the prior administration’s unlawful plan to exclude non–U.S. citizens from the census and apportionment of congressional representatives, and ensures that all residents are considered.
- Termination of Border Wall Construction: President Biden paused construction on the southern border wall. The executive order also terminates national emergency declarations that were invoked to justify the diversion of federal funds for a border wall.
Executive Actions: Feb. 1-5
In the weeks that followed inauguration, President Biden continued to issue executive orders, charting a new way forward on immigration. Importantly, these included an order that increases refugee resettlement numbers and an executive order creating a task force to reunite children separated from their parents under the Zero Tolerance Policy.
- Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration: This executive order attempts to address the factors that force people to seek asylum, supports stronger asylum and refugee protection in other countries, builds regional refugee resettlement capacities, and restores the Central American Minors (CAM) program to protect children fleeing violence in Central America.
It does not, however, immediately rescind asylum concerns such as the harmful Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, also known as “Remain in Mexico.”
- Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems & Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans: This executive order seeks to promote immigrant and refugee integration and inclusion by re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans. The executive order includes a review of the previous administration’s public charge rule. It does not rescind or replace the public charge rules but orders DHS, DOS, and DOJ to review the rule and act within 60 days.
- Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families: This executive order establishes a task force to identify and reunite children and their families intentionally separated by the previous administration’s “Zero Tolerance policy.”
- Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Chane on Migration: This executive order sets a refugee admissions goal of 125,000 in the first full fiscal year of the Biden administration. This is a significant improvement over the Trump administration’s last admissions goal of 15,000, a historically low number. President Biden also committed to raising the FY 2021 refugee admissions goal after appropriate consultation with Congress.