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Brief # 114 – Immigration

Biden Signs Three Executive Orders to Reverse Xenophobic Policies 

By Kathryn Baron

February 8, 2021

Policy Summary

Earlier this week, President Biden signed three Executive Orders to begin the lengthy process of undoing Trump-era immigration policies that have stained American foreign policy and international perception. The Senate had just confirmed Alejandro N. Mayorka as Secretary of Homeland Security – in which all but seven Republican voted no, which accurately depicts the divisions in the US government about American attitudes towards foreigners. Mayorka will be the first Latino-American of his position.

Two of the Executive Orders call for reviews and of Trump’s policies that limited asylum, stopped funding to certain foreign countries, slowed down legal immigration, and made it more difficult to obtain green cards. One of these demands a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP – ‘Remain in Mexico’) that ordered 65,000 Asylum Seekers to wait in Mexico for their US court hearings. These reviews could trigger policy changes in the coming weeks following a thorough examination of the policies Trump put in place. The third Executive Order established a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated at the US-Mexico border as a result of Trump’s 2018 Zero Tolerance policy.


President Biden stated he is “not making new law” but rather he is “eliminating bad policy.” All the necessary reversals of Trump-era immigration policies cannot be done properly and effectively in a short time-frame. The Executive Orders signed at the beginning of this week provide an avenue for thorough investigation and action to re-track American immigration and foreign policy measures to ensure the principles and values that defined the US throughout history are upheld and restored.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Through the Department of Homeland Security’s website, this link provides additional information regarding the Obama era program.
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