U.S. President Joe Biden signed executive orders Tuesday to start to dismantle former President Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, including an attempt to reunite families that had been separated at the U.S.-Mexican border.
“I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” Biden said while signing the orders.
In the first hours of his presidency two weeks ago, Biden acted to halt construction of Trump’s $16 billion wall along the border and sent a far-reaching immigration bill to Congress, where lawmakers have long been stalemated between liberals looking to ease the path to U.S. citizenship and conservatives seeking to stem unauthorized immigration.
Biden’s immediate focus is on the 3,100-kilometer southern border with Mexico, where Trump tried to keep thousands of migrants from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala from entering the U.S.
Trump led repair and expansion of a border wall and imposed tough detention and deportation policies for those who made it across the desolate border terrain and into the United States.
One of the orders Biden is signing would establish a task force designed to reunite more than 600 migrant children with their parents after federal authorities had split them up at the border in 2017 and 2018. Officials say first lady Jill Biden is expected to play an active role in the effort.