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DACA activists. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
DACA activists. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Biden’s first day is here: What is he actually doing about immigration?

No more border wall, Muslim ban or expanded immigration reform are part of 17 executive actions the new president will perform on day one.

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From the moment he launched his campaign in 2015, former President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda has caused irreparable harm to millions. 

The Trump administration enacted policies that made seeking asylum near impossible for Central Americans. They reduced refugee admissions, limited access to immigration services, and further complicated the already grueling process of applying for citizenship. And these are just a few examples. 

After enduring four long years of anti-immigration policies and xenophobic rhetoric, immigration rights leaders and Latinx Reps were quick to urge the incoming Biden administration to take action on these issues. 

So far, President Biden has been listening and taking notes. 

He plans to send a proposal to Congress that would provide a path to citizenship for approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. This plan will also offer immediate protection from deportation to millions of people. 

“This legislation provides new pathways to citizenship, promotes smart border controls, and addresses the root causes of migration,” said Susan Rice, Biden’s domestic policy advisor. “The bill also creates an earned path to citizenship for Dreamers, farm workers and essential workers who risk their lives to serve and protect American communities,” she continued. 

Trump did everything in his power to keep families separated from each other, but Biden is focusing on family reunification. 

He’s also seeking to increase the diversity visa program, which the Trump administration attempted to eradicate. This would boost available visa spots from 55,000 to 80,000. 

The bill also calls for a total of $4 billion to be invested over four years into aid for the nations of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to help them address the problems that trigger migration to the U.S in the first place. 

Biden hopes to reinstate a program that granted minors from Central America temporary legal residence in the U.S, a program that was terminated in august 2017 by the Trump administration. 

Separate from the bill, Biden is also set out to sign executive actions that would reverse Trump’s travel ban on a group of primarily Muslim nations, repeal Trump’s immigration enfrocement orders, and put a halt to the construction of his wall on the southern border with Mexico. 

U.S Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who has spent decades fighting for immigration rights and reforms to our nation’s broken system, announced today that he will lead the legislative efforts in the Senate and introduce the bill to build a system that is more humane, fair and functional.

As the son of Cuban immigrants, Senator Menendez said he is prepared and excited to work with the Biden-Harris administration to heal the damage and rebuild. 

“This plan is not only about fixing our broken immigration system, but building a better one that reunites families, brings the undocumented community out of the shadows and on a path to citizenship, stands up for human rights, addresses root causes of migration, and includes a smart border security strategy,” Menendez wrote in a statement

Although Menendez is aware of how daunting of a task it is to pass immigration before through Congress, he is ready for the challenge. 

“There is a moral and economic imperative to get this done.”

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