Each new administration has a certain set of changes they would like to make to rules and regulations. These changes usually come slowly, as most changes to the law need to go through the House, Senate, and the President.
However, some changes can be made much more quickly by the President through Executive Orders. The Biden administration may take some time to address the changes made by Trump’s administration to the immigration system. We anticipate some of the following changes to be proposed by the Biden administration:
• Protect Dreamers and their Families and Reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Programs
This looks very promising for the nearly 650,000 young immigrants who were brought to the U.S illegally and now contribute to the growth of this country, such as Jorge Gutierrez the executive director of “Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement” in Orange County, California. Biden assured that he will make DACA permanent on his first day in office but applying major legislation through Congress could be a bit of a challenge. We are still waiting to see who is going to have the effective majority to control de Senate.
• Rescind the Travel and Refugee Bans on 13 Countries Initially Known as the “Muslim Ban”
Back in January the Trump administration set immigration restrictions on countries with a population of color and decided not to add those who “pose a national security concern”. Reversing regulations applied back in April, most notably the Public Charge Rule, may take more time and will have to be decided by court rulings; however, this is not one of them as it was a result of a Presidential Proclamation, not a law passed by Congress, and Biden could end the ban on his very first week on the job.
• Cut Funding to the Border Wall and Reallocate Those Funds to Other Departments
“There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my Administration.” Those were Biden’s words back at the August roundtable with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Instead of using Pentagon’s resources to pay for this gigantic fence, there will increase the security in our legal ports of entry.
• Stop Separating Parents from Their Children at the Border
One of Biden’s promises for the first 100 days of his administration is to issue an Executive Order creating a task force to reunite these children with their parents. According to the ACLU approximately 2,655 additional children were separated by the Trump administration, many of whom were from Guatemala or Honduras, are not currently covered by the judicial reunification order, and the parents of 545 of them could not be contacted.
• Restore Our Asylum Laws to Help Those Who Are Fleeing Persecution
President Biden has expressed his openness to expanding refugee admissions. Biden’s promise is to set a refugee admissions target of 125,000 a year and to work with Congress to establish a minimum admissions number of at least 95,000 refugees annually in June, on World Refugee Day, following historical averages.
Biden will have to give a hard look into the US asylum system: over the years it has become a messy patchwork of different laws and statutes and regulations, and his administration will have to come up with a new series of policies. The administration could immediately lift the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which is forcing asylum seekers to live in unsafe conditions along the Southern Border. In the long run, J. Biden will have to work cooperatively with Mexico and Central American countries to improve the on-the-ground conditions.
• Work with the Northern Triangle Countries on immigration
The new administration will withdraw from the bilateral agreements Trump brokered with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. This allows the U.S. to send rejected asylum-seekers to those countries and have them seek refuge there. President Biden assured that he looks to restore the asylum system and support alternatives to immigrant detention. Biden suggested implementing case management that allows an applicant to live and work in the community while their case works its way through the hearing process.
• Reverse or Revise Trump’s Public Charge Rule
America has been a land of opportunity, has always been open and welcoming to all types of people, and not just the wealthy. Federal law already requires those seeking permanent residency or legal status to prove they won’t be a “public charge,” meaning they will not need to be supported by taxpayer funds. But Trump administration rule included a much wider range of programs that could disqualify them. This will be another assignment to deal with when Biden’s administration begins. This is critical to our clients.
• Reinstate TPS That Was Previously Cut Off
President-elect Joe Biden’s plan on immigration stands on the opposite side of the xenophobic agenda the Trump administration built for the last four years. Biden’s team is already planning to review Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations to ensure people are not returned to unsafe countries.
TPS is intended to offer temporary permission to remain in the U.S. to individuals who are unable to return to their home countries safely due to natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions. This ambitious move could affect 300,000 Temporary Protected Status holders from six countries: Nepal, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan. People from these six countries account for almost 98% of individuals enrolled in TPS, and the claim that their home countries are “safe” is still in dispute by political experts.
Over 130,000 TPS holders have held essential jobs in the COVID-19 pandemic and if this is removed it will jeopardize the stability in the local job markets.
At Connie Kaplan’s Law Office, we hope this will be a smooth transition and it will be the start of a new era: rebuilding our country into a nation that accepts and embraces immigrants. It may take several years of dedication but it is finally starting to happen.
The Biden-Harris administration could change how this country is considered throughout the whole world. Under this new leadership, there will be an end to the persistent dehumanization and denigration of immigrants looking to have a better life.
Though these are Biden’s plans regarding the immigration system, our country still faces many other hurdles, and we do not know where immigration reform can fall on the Biden administration’s list of priorities.
Even when you make your case a priority, there will doubtlessly be additional obstacles from the constant changes in the political atmosphere. Due to all of this, we cannot predict a timeline of events yet.
This ever-changing immigration landscape is extremely important to our team and we will keep an eye on each policy to ensure the best results when you come to us to discuss your immigration matter.
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