Immigration: Biden to move swiftly on DACA, border wall, travel ban

Biden outlined an ambitious immigration agenda on the campaign trail that would reverse the actions of his predecessor, vowing, for example, to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation and maintain programs that provide relief to immigrants living in the United States.

While some changes can be jump-started through executive actions this week, other immigration policy changes will take more time, which Biden has acknowledged.

“It’s a matter of it will get done — and it will get done quickly — but it’s not going to be able to be done on Day One, lift every restriction that exists … and all of a sudden find out we have a crisis on our hand that complicates what we’re trying to do,” he said in December.

One of those actions is sending an immigration bill to Congress that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States, modernizes the US immigration system, invests in border technology and provides aid to Central America, according to incoming White House officials.

Here are the actions Biden plans to take on Day One:

Preserve DACA

The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, has been in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to terminate the program in 2017.

While the Supreme Court blocked Trump’s attempt to end DACA, his administration continued to try to limit the program.

Biden will sign a presidential memorandum directing the Homeland Security secretary, in consultation with the attorney general, to take actions preserving the program. Biden’s proposed immigration legislation will include an immediate pathway to citizenship for beneficiaries of the program.

Reverse the travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries

Trump kicked off his presidency signing a hastily put-together executive order restricting entry into the US from predominantly Muslim countries. Biden will sign an executive action repealing those bans.

Ex-DHS chief attempts to skirt legal mess to keep Trump administration's immigration policies in place

He will also instruct the State Department to restart visa processing for affected countries and will call for a review of other Trump administration “extreme vetting” practices.

Biden’s immigration bill includes a provision that would limit presidential authority to issue future bans.

Revoke Trump’s order excluding noncitizens from the census count

Trump signed a presidential memorandum last year that would exclude undocumented immigrants when splitting seats in the House of Representatives among the states. Biden will sign an executive order revoking Trump’s orders and will commit to presenting to Congress an apportionment that is “fair and accurate.”

Halt border wall construction

Biden plans to end the national emergency declaration that allowed Trump to dip into additional funds for his border wall and will pause wall construction projects until further review.

Extend relief for Liberians

Biden will sign a presidential memorandum extending Deferred Enforced Departure — a form of relief for people from countries facing unrest or natural disasters — until June 30, 2022, for Liberians residing in the United States.

Send comprehensive immigration legislation to Congress

The bill would provide an immediate pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status holders. It sketches out a plan for undocumented immigrants that would allow them to eventually apply for green cards if they pass background checks and pay taxes.

The bill also aims to clear visa backlogs, improve immigration courts and authorize funding for border technology, as well as provide $4 billion in funding to increase assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and to set up safe and legal channels for migrants to seek protection.