Joe Biden promised to spend at least the beginning of his presidency erasing all of Donald Trump’s work on immigration and border security. So far, he has kept that promise – and more. The new president signed three executive orders Feb. 2 that roll back Trump-era rules – bringing his total to nine immigration-related executive actions in just two weeks – but they don’t stop there. A thorough reading of these orders cuts through the anti-Trump rhetoric and raises the question: Are open borders on the way?
For the Children
One executive order establishes the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families.
The task force will be responsible for finding all the “children who were separated from their families at the United States-Mexico border between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, in connection with the operation of the Zero-Tolerance Policy.” Not mentioned in the order are any children separated from their families under the Obama administration or the fact that President Trump ended the Zero-Tolerance Policy by executive order just a couple of months after it began. Not surprising, as Biden has long claimed – incorrectly – that the Obama administration did not separate families at the border.
So, what does reunification look like under the task force? Assuming the actual parents or guardians of these children can be located, visas or other immigration benefits will be issued to allow the families to reunite in the United States and remain in the country afterward.
It’s unclear how the actual parents or guardians will be located. Simply returning minors to the adults they arrived with could mean returning children to the adults who love and care for them – or it could mean handing them back to the child smugglers who took them from their homes in hopes of clearing the border by fraud.
The Great Immigrant Pipeline
Another order focuses on overhauling the asylum process. Biden wants a review of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain in Mexico Policy, which pushed 65,000 asylum seekers back into Mexico pending the results of their hearings. The order ends agreements with the governments of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to make way for a new plan.
The obvious next step is for the MPP to be rescinded, allowing those seeking asylum to await their results in the United States. But there’s more. The president also wants to “address the root causes of migration” and devise a strategy to “coordinate place-based efforts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.” The list of goals laid out in the order is extensive:
- Combat corruption.
- Strengthen democratic governance.
- Advance the rule of law.
- Promote respect for human rights, labor rights, and a free press.
- Counter and prevent violence, extortion, and other crimes of gangs and trafficking networks.
- Combat sexual, gender-based, and domestic violence.
- Address economic insecurity and inequality.
- Ensure that unfair labor practices do not disadvantage competition.
- Encourage the deployment of Northern Triangle domestic resources and develop domestic capacity to replicate and scale efforts to foster sustainable societies across the region.
These are all noble goals for any country – but exactly how the United States is expected to achieve them outside its borders is unclear. Presumably, there will be many billions of tax dollars spent. The question is whether that money will be used as intended. It stands to reason that if there is extensive corruption to fight, the money is at risk unless there is some force present to guarantee things are done properly – and that opens a whole different can of worms.
A Nation of Opportunity and Welcome
The third executive order takes aim at the public charge rule, which limited green cards for immigrants who didn’t seem able to support themselves in the United States without welfare.
The attorney general and the secretaries of state and homeland security are instructed to review all their departments’ policies that might impede the legal immigration process and make a plan to alter or rescind them as needed and report back to the president. They also have 60 days to develop a plan to overhaul the naturalization process. Explicitly mentioned as items to be reviewed – and therefore potentially nixed – are the N-400 application, fingerprinting, background and security checks, interviews, civics and English language tests, and the oath of allegiance.
Open Borders, Here We Come?
So far, the new president has a good start on erasing everything done by his predecessor – but the goal won’t be achieved overnight. The Biden administration warns that it could take months to complete the process, and that immigrant and immigration activists should be patient. Also in play is a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which was delivered to Congress on Biden’s first day in office. If passed, it would immediately give legal status to the estimated 11 million in the country who don’t have it and replace the word “alien” with “noncitizen” in all the immigration laws. Just like the goal of erasing Trump, the globalist dream of open borders won’t happen overnight – but it’s a lot closer.
Read more from James Fite.
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