Amid a purported overhaul of the US’ immigration system, US President Joe Biden has been sharply criticized for allowing some of the most hated Trump-era practices to continue, including detaining unaccompanied migrant children in so-called “overflow facilities,” which critics note were called “kids in cages” under former US President Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, Biden issued an executive order that revoked another one previously issued by former US President Donald Trump which barred immigrants from getting green cards if they were judged to “present a risk to the US labor market.”
The measure, which was an extension of several similar past measures but made in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, “does not advance the interests of the United States,” Biden said in the proclamation.
“To the contrary, it harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world. And it harms individuals who were selected to receive the opportunity to apply for, and those who have likewise received, immigrant visas through the Fiscal Year 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery,” it adds.
The order also directs the secretaries of Homeland Security, Labor and State to review their departments’ policies and guidance documents “and, as appropriate, issue revised guidance consistent with the policy set forth in this proclamation.”
The proclamation Biden reversed was an extension of an April 22, 2020, order by Trump that was renewed on December 31 of last year. The justification for the order was protecting American jobs amid rising unemployment due to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as not overburdening the US healthcare system.
The move is Biden’s latest in a slew of executive orders and legislation aiming to reform or remove significant parts of his predecessor’s immigration policies. Some of his other changes have included ending the state of emergency at the US-Mexico border and ending the associated construction of a border wall; significantly raising the cap on refugees accepted per year; ending the ban on immigration from certain Central American and Muslim-majority nations; and shredding a new citizenship test, among other measures.
However, Biden has also been criticized for failing to sufficiently deviate from some of Trump’s most hated policies, including detention of migrant children and deportation of Haitian immigrants, including young children.