What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Biden rolls back Trump’s immigration policies with a raft of initiatives

President Biden is out with a raft of initiatives Tuesday directed at the U.S. southern border, and the man who will manage immigration policies, Alejandro Mayorkas, is joining his Cabinet after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as secretary of Homeland Security. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Biden is out with a raft of initiatives tonight directed at the U.S. Southern border. They come as the man who will manage migrant policy is joining his Cabinet.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage with a late-afternoon event.

  • Pres. Joe Biden:

    I'm going to sign a few executive orders.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Biden focused on immigration and on rolling back former President Trump's controversial policies.

    Today, he signed three executive orders on the topic. Topping the list, the creation of a task force to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump zero tolerance policy.

  • Joe Biden:

    With the first action today, we're going to work to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration that literally, not figuratively, ripped children from the arms of their families, their mothers and fathers at the border, and with no plan, none whatsoever, to reunify the children who are still in custody and their parents.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The task force will be led by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

  • Woman:

    Senators voting in the affirmative.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    After several days of delays, this afternoon, the Senate confirmed him.

    Biden's orders were praised by several groups, including the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, an organization advocating for separated families. It called the president's actions a monumental first step. The group said — quote — "It is incumbent upon all of our elected officials to end the rampant separation and detention of migrants."

    The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted — quote — "Biden must reunite all separated families in the U.S., and we can't stop there. These families deserve citizenship and care."

    White House officials say no one knows just how many children remain separated from their families. Federal court documents put the number at more than 600. Biden aides say it could be up to 1,000.

    Biden will be looking into whether some families, including parents deported without their children, will be given some sort of legal status in the United States. Today's executive actions also order a review of the Trump policies that restricted legal immigration. Those include the remain-in-Mexico program that sent more than 60,000 asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their claims to be processed in U.S. courts.

    Many have been forced to wait in dangerous conditions. Some have even been kidnapped and killed. The Biden administration already announced it will no longer enroll new asylum seekers in the program, but it remains unclear what will happen to those already enrolled.

    Also today, President Biden ordered a review of the so-called public charge rule. It denies green cards to immigrants who might require taxpayer-funded financial assistance.

    Meanwhile, President Biden continues his push for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.

  • Joe Biden:

    Thanks for coming down.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Last night, he held a meeting with a group of Senate Republicans who want a far smaller bill. So far, no bipartisan deal has been reached. The senators said the meeting was — quote — "frank and very useful." They pledged to continue their talks.

    Today, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated the president's call for bold action.

  • Jen Psaki:

    There certainly is a gap between where we are and where the proposal, the Republican proposal that was discussed last night.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Senate Republicans argued again for a smaller, more targeted approach that can win bipartisan support.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell:

    We're off to a totally partisan start. I think that's unfortunate. But they are in the majority in the House and Senate, and life is a series of choices, and they have chosen.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Democrats are forging ahead on a process to pass a bill with a simple majority in the 50/50 Senate, if they cannot win Republican support.

    Today, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer insisted again there's no time to lose.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    We are not going to dilute, dither, or delay. The needs of the American people are so demanding, we need to think big, and we need to act quickly.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

Listen to this Segment