Build Back Better for Migrant Kids

It’s fair to say that during the Trump administration, migrants and asylum seekers faced a seemingly never-ending onslaught of damaging policies and attacks. From the dangerous “Remain in Mexico” policy to the disgraceful separation of children from their parents at the southern border, at times it was painfully difficult to keep up with the breaking news cycle.

Now that we welcome the Biden administration into office, there’s hope for brighter future for asylum-seeking families and children!

While we can’t expect the administration to fix everything during its first month in office, many of the proposals and actions taken already give us hope that we are finally moving in the right direction and treating the most vulnerable among us with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Here’s a breakdown of what all of the new proposed legislation and executive orders mean for migrant children.

Inside President Biden’s Immigration Bill

The Biden administration has been working closely with Congress to introduce a bill called the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. This bill addresses many issues with our current asylum and immigration system. Although the full text of the bill hasn’t been released yet, we have a roadmap of what would be part of their proposal.

The proposed bill would:

  • Ensure that families remain together and are not separated by deportations or travel bans.
  • Promote integration and work with border communities and experts to improve the standards of care for children in the immigration and asylum system.
  • Create a pathway for citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living, working and raising families in the U.S.
  • Address the root causes of the migration crisis by providing robust funding and aid for the Northern Triangle region of Central America.
  • Ensure that families remain together and are not separated by deportations or travel bans.
  • Reform the immigration court system by addressing the massive backlog of cases and provides legal representation for vulnerable populations.

If many of these proposals seem familiar, it’s because we made similar recommendations to the Biden administration. And the messages SCAN activists have sent to their members of Congress over the years have made a difference in shaping their opinions!

Inside President Biden’s Executive Orders

Some of our recommendations can only be addressed through Congress and the legislative process, but many can be handled through the President’s executive power. During his first days in office, President Biden signed executive orders that would have a direct impact on the treatment of children at the border.

One of the most notable executive orders was the creation of the Family Reunification Task Force. This task force is aimed at reunifying the hundreds of children who remain separated from their families. The task force will provide much-needed trauma and mental health services to children as well as provide a pathway to reunification in the United States.

The president is also ending the Migration Protection Protocols and beginning to allow the thousands of migrants waiting in unsafe locations in Mexico to seek asylum in the United States.

Other executive orders cancel some of President Trump’s more damaging policies like the Muslim Ban, the Asylum Cooperative Agreements, and provide new guidance for the Department of Homeland Security on enforcement and deportations.

The Work is Not Over Yet!

Even though the Biden administration has taken major steps in undoing the damage done by the previous administration, many Trump-era policies remain in place. We expect President Biden to continue working with experts and advocacy groups to find solutions to these harmful policies, and we need your help to make sure we can keep protecting children in need!

Let’s build back better for kids seeking safety in the U.S.!