On February 2, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order (EO) that directs agencies to review policies leading to a possible overhaul of the U.S. asylum system. The EO directs agencies to:
- Prepare the United States Strategy for Addressing the Root Causes of Migration (the “Root Causes Strategy”), which is focused on working with partners to address the underlying factors leading to migration in the region (such as sexual, gender-based, and domestic violence; corruption; lack of protections for human rights and freedom of the press; criminal, trafficking, and gang violence; and economic insecurity or inequality);
- Prepare the United States Strategy for Collaboratively Managing Migration in the Region (the “Collaborative Management Strategy”), which will focus on programs and infrastructure to help with the protection, resettlement, integration of displaced migrants in the region;
- Review mechanisms for better identifying and processing individuals from the “Northern Triangle” (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) who are eligible for refugee resettlement to the United States, with consideration given to increasing access and processing efficiency, including possibly reversing the 2017 decision by the Trump administration, which rescinded the Central American Minors (CAM) parole policy;
- Develop policies and procedures for the safe and orderly processing of asylum claims at United States land borders, consistent with public health concerns, and to consider revoking the Trump order that restricted migration from countries where a quarantinable disease might be present;
- Consider terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy and associated guidance;
- Promptly begin review of procedures for individuals in expedited removal proceedings, and consider revoking the policy that designated individuals for expedited removal;
- Comprehensively examine the rules, regulations, precedential decisions, and internal guidelines concerning claims for asylum and refugee status, specifically for those fleeing domestic or gang violence, while considering international standards, and with an eye to addressing certain persons as being part of a “particular social group.”
The EO outright revokes the following current executive orders or proclamations from the Trump administration:
- Executive Order 13767 of January 25, 2017 (Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements);
- Proclamation 9880 of May 8, 2019 (Addressing Mass Migration Through the Southern Border of the United States);
- Presidential Memorandum of April 29, 2019 (Additional Measures to Enhance Border Security and Restore Integrity to Our Immigration System);
- Presidential Memorandum of April 6, 2018 (Ending “Catch and Release” at the Border of the United States and Directing Other Enhancements to Immigration Enforcement);
- Presidential Memorandum of April 4, 2018 (Securing the Southern Border of the United States).
President Biden’s executive order on asylum was one of three concerning immigration. He also signed an executive order that establishes the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families, which departs from a Trump-era policy that separated more than 5,500 families. He signed another executive order that requires review of policies and guidelines–including the public charge rule–which have made it more challenging for people to get green cards or become naturalized American citizens.
Asylum Legal will continue to track these developments, and will keep you posted other updates from the new Biden administration that may impact your asylum application or status.