Conservative activists lashed out at Mr. Biden’s executive orders and the confirmation of Mr. Mayorkas, saying the president was pursuing a policy that would undermine border security and cost Americans jobs.
“By abandoning common-sense asylum policies and increasing the burden on our strained social safety net, these orders will take away jobs from Americans struggling to find employment,” said Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action.
But the orders do little more in the short term than order government evaluations. Two of them order a review of Mr. Trump’s immigration policies that limited asylum, stopped funding to foreign countries, made it more difficult to get green cards or be naturalized, and slowed down legal immigration into the United States. The third establishes a task force, headed by Mr. Mayorkas, to identify families separated at the border.
For the most part, the orders do not immediately reverse Mr. Trump’s policies. One order did direct the homeland security secretary to “promptly cease” two programs established last year that put migrants on a fast track to deportation.
Mr. Biden also ordered the State Department to consider suspending accords that allow the United States to rapidly deport migrants at the southwestern border to Central America to seek protection. Those deals with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras would be replaced with more “cooperative” agreements, according to the order.
The reviews and the task force could ultimately open new channels of legal immigration, expand the chance that migrants fleeing violence can win asylum, end the Trump program that forces migrants to wait in Mexico and fully repair the damage done by Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to family separations at the border.
But Mr. Biden’s top spokeswoman said Tuesday that it will take time.
“Part of our effort,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, “is to assess the damage that’s been done by the policies that were put in place by the prior administration. We want to act swiftly, we want to act promptly, but we also need to make sure we’re doing that through a strategic policy process.”