US President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed three executive orders seeking to reunite migrant families separated by Donald Trump’s immigration policy.
The Trump administration had separated undocumented adults from children at the US-Mexico border in an attempt to deter illegal immigration.
About 5,500 children have reportedly been identified in court documents to have been separated from their parents between 2017 and 2018 during Trump’s administration.
But by Biden’s orders a taskforce will be set up to reunite an estimated 600-700 children who are still apart from their families.
Speaking while signing the orders in the White House, Biden said his administration is working to undo the “moral and national shame” of the previous administration.
“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,” he said.
Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of homeland security who was confirmed on Tuesday, will lead the taskforce which is focused on reuniting parents and children who are apart.
The second and third orders review of Trump’s immigration policies that curtailed asylum, slowed legal immigration into the US, and cancelled funding to foreign countries.
The president has also proposed legislation to grant legal status and a path to citizenship to all of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the US.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the administration will build a “moral and humane” immigration system.