This week in immigration news – February 4, 2021

Alejandro Mayorkas becomes first Latino, first immigrant to lead Department of Homeland Security

This week, Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security. As part of his new position, he will be leading a task force on reuniting parents and children who were separated during the Trump administration’s family separation policy in 2018.

New immigration bill revives citizenship debate, puts pressure on Biden to deliver

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The “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” would put undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship in eight years—the most ambitious immigration reform put forth in more than 30 years. Millions of immigrants and advocates are watching to see if President Biden is able to deliver.

Biden is dropping Trump’s policy of immediately expelling unaccompanied immigrant children at the border

After the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, the Trump administration used the virus as a reason to expel undocumented children from the country more than 13,000 times. The previous policy had been to transfer undocumented children to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and to a shelter where they would wait to be reunited with a family member in the United States. President Biden has vowed a return to this policy.

DHS says undocumented immigrants should get coronavirus vaccines

This week, the Biden administration announced that immigration enforcement will not be conducted at locations that are distributing the coronavirus vaccine. Ensuring that everyone has equitable access to the vaccine is, according to DHS, “a moral and public health imperative.”

Biden signs immigration executive orders and establishes task force to reunite separated families

This week, President Biden signed executive orders aimed at overturning hardline immigration orders that had been put in place by the Trump administration, and established a task force to reunite parents and children who had been separated by President Trump’s family separation policy in 2018.

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