President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order to increase refugee admissions as soon as Friday, according to two administration officials.
The refugee cap dictates how many refugees can be admitted into the country, and is approved by the president.
Former President Donald Trump implemented a cap of 15,000 refugees in the fiscal year 2021, but Biden could increase that number tenfold.
Biden is expected to take executive action on immigration as soon as Friday, but it is unclear if he intends to set the refugee cap at the level he pledged.
An unnamed Homeland Security official told CNN that the expected executive order will establish a guide for opening the country up for more refugees and set a list of required reports due back between 30-120 days.
Esther Olavarria, deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council for immigration, said that the upcoming action by the president could “restore the refugee admissions program and enables the U.S. to return to its historic role as a leader and protection for refugees.”
According to Olavarria, the upcoming orders will provide funds to address the root causes of migration, set up programs to strengthen asylum systems in neighboring countries and establish a refugee admissions program.
The upcoming orders focus on the border and will provide funds to address the root causes of migration.
The administration also wants to establish a “fair but efficient asylum program” that ends the program known as “remain in Mexico” that required migrants to stay in Mexico while they waited for their immigration cases to be heard in the States.
Olavarria said that the upcoming executive action would reverse Trump administration policies that made it hard for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use public benefits like food stamps.
“These are policies that ignored the decades — and centuries actually — of contributions that immigrants have made to our economy, to our society, to our culture,” she said. “We’d rescind those policies and return to a country that welcomes immigrants and acknowledges their contributions.”
Biden is also expected to formally announce a task force to reunite children with their parents who were separated from them at the border on Friday, NPR reported.
The administration formally rescinded the “zero tolerance” policy earlier this week that led to family separations, but the move was largely symbolic. The Trump administration had mostly stopped separating families in 2018 and reunited thousands of families following a judge’s orders.
In the midst of multiple announcements and executive actions, the special assistant to the president for immigration for the Domestic Policy Council admitted the limitations of executive authority.
“The president does have a lot of authority to fix the immigration system in a number of different ways,” Tyler Moran said, according to CNN.
“But what really the president cannot do is provide permanent status to people and we’ve made so many runs at this but we really have to get it done to make sure that people are on a path to citizenship.”
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