Biden to announce new measures to address border crisis

Biden to announce new measures to address border crisis/

President Joe Biden is expected to unveil a series of executive actions and regulations next week to tackle the growing humanitarian and security challenges at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to sources familiar with the plans. The moves are aimed at reversing some of the restrictive and controversial policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and restoring a more humane and orderly approach to immigration.

Asylum seekers and migrants boarding a Border Patrol vehicle in Boulevard, Calif., last week.Credit...Guillermo Arias for The New York Times


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Among the steps that Biden is considering are:

  • Creating a task force to reunite families that were separated under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which prosecuted all adults who crossed the border illegally and took away their children. The task force would be led by the Department of Homeland Security and would work with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and other agencies to identify and locate the parents and children, and facilitate their reunification.
  • Reviewing and revoking the Trump-era agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which required migrants to seek asylum in those countries before reaching the U.S. border. The agreements, known as the Asylum Cooperative Agreements, were criticized by human rights groups and Democrats as a way to outsource the U.S. asylum system and send vulnerable people to dangerous and ill-equipped countries.
  • Restoring the Central American Minors program, which allowed children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to apply for refugee status in the U.S. from their home countries, and join their parents or relatives who were already in the U.S. legally. The program, which was launched by President Barack Obama in 2014, was terminated by Trump in 2017.
  • Increasing the annual refugee cap from 15,000 to 125,000, fulfilling a campaign promise that Biden made to welcome more people fleeing persecution and violence around the world. The 15,000 cap, which was set by Trump, was the lowest in the history of the U.S. refugee program, which dates back to 1980.
  • Establishing a regional framework to address the root causes of migration from Central America, such as poverty, violence, corruption, and climate change. The framework would involve working with the governments of the region, as well as international organizations, civil society, and the private sector, to promote economic development, security, human rights, and good governance.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the executive actions and regulations are still being finalized and could change before they are announced. They also cautioned that the measures would not have an immediate effect on the situation at the border, where a surge of migrants, especially unaccompanied children, has overwhelmed the capacity of the authorities and the facilities to process and shelter them.

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The Biden administration has faced criticism from both sides of the political spectrum for its handling of the border crisis. Republicans have accused Biden of creating a magnet for illegal immigration by rolling back Trump’s policies, while some Democrats and advocates have urged Biden to do more to protect the rights and dignity of the migrants, and to end the use of detention and deportation.


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