CNN)President Joe Biden kicked off his term by signing out a series of immigration executive actions, moving swiftly to undo many Trump administration policies and ending the national emergency that diverted millions of dollars to the border wall.
Biden outlined an ambitious immigration agenda on the campaign trail that would reverse the actions of his predecessor, vowing — for example — to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation and maintain programs that provide relief to immigrants living in the United States.
While some changes can be jump-started through executive actions this week, other immigration policy changes will take more time.
“There’s a long way to go. These are just executive actions,” Biden told reporters Wednesday, appearing as president in the Oval Office for the first time. “But we’re going to need legislation for a lot of these we’re going to do.”
That includes the administration’s immigration bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the United States, modernizes the US immigration system, invests in border technology, and provides aid to Central America, according to incoming White House officials.
The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shields undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, has been in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to terminate the program in 2017.
While the Supreme Court blocked Trump’s attempt to end DACA, his administration continued to try to limit the program.
Biden signed a presidential memorandum directing the Homeland Security secretary, in consultation with the attorney general, to take actions preserving the program. Biden’s proposed immigration legislation will include an immediate pathway to citizenship for beneficiaries of the program.
Halt border wall construction
Biden moved to end the national emergency declaration that allowed Trump to dip into additional funds for his border wall and will pause wall construction projects until further review, taking aim at a key element of Trump’s legacy.
By Priscilla Alvarez for CNN
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