Biden signs orders to tackle Trump-era migrant family separations

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Joe Biden has announced plans to identify and reunite hundreds of families who were separated at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration and remain apart years later. "It is not the moment", she said in Spanish, adding that the journey was "very unsafe, and we are in the middle of creating a new system".

A second executive order echoes a similar policy under the Barack Obama administration, putting in place legal mechanisms for prospective immigrants in their home countries to apply for residency, allowing them to avoid risky smuggling routes.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki reinforced that message from the White House podium on Tuesday, saying it "remains a unsafe trip" and, "This is not the time to come to the United States".

He did, however, mandate a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a Trump program that ordered 65,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their U.S. court hearings. The Biden administration has already rescinded the policy itself.

"It takes time to review everything, so we are starting with these right now, but that doesn't mean it's the end of it", one of the officials said. In fact, many of Biden's actions take aim at things President Trump had done with a swipe of his Sharpie.

Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, said the move does not show the "unity" that Mr. Biden has touted.

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"There's a lot of talk with good reason about the number of executive orders that I've signed", Biden said while signing the immigration executive orders.

But Biden's efforts face logistical challenges and opposition from Republicans, according to immigration policy experts, former officials and activists on both sides of the issue. When he was opposed to someone or some group, he categorized them with negative names such as "Sleepy Joe" (Biden), "Crooked Hilary" (Clinton) or "Little Marco" (Rubio). Biden harshly criticized the policy during his presidential election campaign.

"I think that the number could certainly be higher, and again, without having official backing, it can be hard to really piece together", she added. He said, you know, the key to bipartisanship isn't having two parties come together and agree on everything. The rule makes it harder for immigrants who are poor or need government help to secure residency and stay in the country.

Pro-immigration activists were pleased but said they will press for even more dramatic steps. In fact, more actions are nearly certain to follow, officials told reporters on a preview call about the measures. In October, a federal judge in California blocked Trump's ban as it applied to hundreds of thousands of US businesses that fought the policy in court. But while review of Trump's immigration policies is important, we need action.

Teenagers are seen in a cage during a protest of worldwide labor groups, civil society and students against the policy of migrant family separation along the US-Mexico border on June 17, 2019 in front of the United Nations offices in Geneva. The first executive order was on creating a task force, chaired by the Secretary of Homeland Security, to reunify families, which will work across governments to find parents and children separated by the prior administration. The children are living with relatives or in foster care, according to an attorney representing plaintiffs in the litigation. "This was before my time in the Senate, but when we've put a tax program on that basis that did not require any Democrat votes through reconciliation, we have a hard time explaining why we're not happy with what they would be doing at this stage". Immigration advocates say anybody charged with this task will have to focus on transparency, accountability and involving the stakeholders.

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