Establishment of the Family Reunification Task Force
Background: Under the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance policies, US immigration officials separated thousands of children from their families as a hardline tactic to deter illegal migration from Mexico and Central America. Whilst in DHS custody, many young children experienced harsh verbal and physical abuse, leading to overwhelming deterioration of mental health, including suicidal ideation, exacerbated PTSD, and depression. During the enforcement of these policies, federal agencies failed to set up an adequate system for tracking separated families, failed to provide a method for children and parents to communicate via phone or collect call, post-separation, and failed to set up any plan to ensure families could be reunified prior to removal.
- Biden’s recent executive order effectively establishes the Family Reunification Task Force, which will be responsible for:
- Identifying all children who were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021.
- Facilitating and enabling the reunification of each of the identified children with their families including parents and siblings.
- Providing recommendations regarding the possible Exercise of Parole, or the issuance of visas or other immigration benefits.
- Providing recommendations regarding the provision of trauma and mental health services to separated children.
- Addressing of the Underlying Causes of Migration and Restoring the Asylum System via
- Implementation of strategies to examine and confront instability, violence, and global economic insecurity that ultimately leads individuals to flee their native
- Collaboration with foreign governments, international organizations, and NGOs to restore other countries abilities to provide asylum protections.
- Increasing the annual refugee admissions cap
- Revocation of Trump’s “Migrant Protections Protocols” program.
- Assurance that Central American refugees and asylum seekers have access to legal avenues to the US.
- Comprehensive Legal Immigration Reform:
- Establishing the Task Force on New Americans to ensure that the legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently.
- Effectively resuming the processing of Visa applications and efficiently eliminating delays associated with COVID-19
- Initiating the process to streamline naturalization.
- Establishing Civil Rights and anti-discrimination standards for how individuals applying for immigration benefits must be treated.
- Fortifying DACA and ending the travel ban on predominately Muslim countries
- Conducting a complete top-to-bottom review of all recent regulations, policies, and guidance documents that have limited legal immigration including:
- USCIS fee hike
- Public Charge Rule
- Health Insurance Proclamation
- Aggressive disciplinary practices requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits.
- Current measures of security vetting for US Refugee Admissions Program.
- Issuing Special Immigrant Visas for certain Afghan and Iraqi nationals without delay.
- Addressing the effects of climate change and natural disasters on migration.
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White House Briefing: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/02/02/executive-order-creating-a-comprehensive-regional-framework-to-address-the-causes-of-migration-to-manage-migration-throughout-north-and-central-america-and-to-provide-safe-and-orderly-processing/
White House Briefing: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/02/fact-sheet-president-biden-outlines-steps-to-reform-our-immigration-system-by-keeping-families-together-addressing-the-root-causes-of-irregular-migration-and-streamlining-the-legal-immigration-syst/
White House Briefing: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/02/04/executive-order-on-rebuilding-and-enhancing-programs-to-resettle-refugees-and-planning-for-the-impact-of-climate-change-on-migration/