President Biden will announce the creation of a task force to examine family separations at the southern border when he signs a number of executive orders later Tuesday on immigration intended to reverse the bulk of his predecessor’s policies.
Alejandro Mayorkas, who is awaiting confirmation to head up the Homeland Security Department, will be the point man on the task force with an emphasis on reuniting parents and children separated as part of former President Donald Trump’s harsh “zero-tolerance” crackdown on immigration.
Estimates put the number of children removed from adults accompanying them across the border illegally at about 5,500, according to court documents.
Roughly 600 parents have not been located by a court-appointed committee.
“President Biden believes that families belong together. He has made clear that reversing the Trump Administration’s immigration policies that separated thousands of families at the border is a top priority,” the Biden administration said in a statement.
“The task force will report regularly to the President and recommend steps to prevent such tragedies from occurring again,” it continued.
Biden will sign executive orders on family separation, border security and streamlining the legal immigration process, adding to orders issued in the first days of the administration to protect “Dreamers” in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, reverse the travel ban on countries with heightened terror concerns, and halt construction of the southern border wall.
The Biden White House said the Trump administration’s immigration policies “have caused chaos, cruelty and confusion.”
“Those policies have undermined the safety of our communities, penalized asylum seekers fleeing violence, and destabilized security across the Western hemisphere,” the White House said in a statement.
The administration said it will use a three-pronged approach – including addressing the underlying causes of immigration, working with foreign governments, international organizations and nonprofits to help countries provide protection for asylum seekers, and ensure refugees and asylum seekers have access to legal information in the US.
The Biden administration noted that the reforms will not “transform” the situation at the border overnight, “but the President is committed to an approach that keeps our country safe, strong, and prosperous and that also aligns with our values.”
With Post wires