White House

Biden Signs Executive Orders Ending Trump’s Travel Ban, Stopping Border Wall Construction

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office of the White House, January 20, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a series of executive orders on immigration, moving to preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to end the so-called “Muslim ban,” and to stop construction on the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Biden’s executive orders are in line with campaign promises that he would overturn a number of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies on day one and come as part of a slate of 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations the Democrat will issue on his first day.

While the Supreme Court stopped Trump from terminating DACA, Biden’s executive order directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to “take all appropriate actions under the law” to “preserve and fortify” the program. It also calls on Congress to enact legislation providing permanent status and a path to citizenship for people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The president also ordered an end to Trump’s travel ban that restricted entry into the U.S. from eight nations: Chad, Iran, Somalia, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen, a policy that the Biden White House called “rooted in religious animus and xenophobia.”

The order “instructs the State Department to restart visa processing for affected countries and to swiftly develop a proposal to restore fairness and remedy the harms caused by the bans, especially for individuals stuck in the waiver process and those who had immigrant visas denied.”

“This is an important step in providing relief to individuals and families harmed by this Trump Administration policy that is inconsistent with American values,” the White House said in a statement announcing the orders. 

It also calls for the review of “other Trump Administration ‘extreme vetting’ practices” and orders increased information sharing with foreign governments to strengthen screening and vetting of travelers.

Another executive order repeals a Trump executive order that “directed harsh and extreme immigration enforcement.” 

This revocation will allow the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to set civil immigration enforcement policies that best protect the American people and are in line with our values and priorities,” the White House said.

Biden also declared an “immediate termination of the national emergency declaration that was used as a pretext to justify some of the funding diversions” for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“The proclamation directs an immediate pause in wall construction projects to allow a close review of the legality of the funding and contracting methods used, and to determine the best way to redirect funds that were diverted by the prior Administration to fund wall construction,” the announcement reads.

Biden’s orders come as a group of roughly 3,000 migrants from Honduras clashed with Guatemalan security forces on Sunday while heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border.

One Honduran migrant worker told CNN that a migrant caravan was headed to the United States because Biden would allow migrants “100 days” to arrive at the country.

Biden transition officials had warned that the president will not be able to immediately overhaul immigration policy as experts caution that the U.S. may be facing “another southwest border crisis” as a confluence of factors, both economic and environmental, has pushed migrants to attempt to enter the U.S.

Other executive orders will revoke the Trump administration’s order to exclude illegal immigrants from the census and the apportionment of Congressional representatives and will extend the Deferred Enforced Departure designation for Liberians until June 30, 2022.

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