Reversing Trump’s Damage: As he had promised, Joe Biden went to work immediately after getting sworn in on January 20. His group set out to reverse the damage the Trump government did to H-1B visas and to the US migration system.
The Trump government had made changes through three types of actions: regulatory changes, and executive orders. Each kind of action requires an alternate sort of approach for reversal.
Reversing Regulations, Policy, Executive Orders
On January 20, The White House Chief of Staff gave a memorandum that directs the agencies to take some actions and “consider” (a nicer way of saying – do it) certain others.
The following rules and policies will be changed:
- The rule requiring the selection of H-1B workers based upon the highest salary – FROZEN for 60 days (until March 21, 2021) or more.
- The rule redefining employer-employee relationships for H-1B purposes – WITHDRAWN.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) policy requiring end customers to be involved in and take responsibility for the H-1B process – should be WITHDRAWN.
Biden also signed an executive order reversing the ban on travel from certain Muslim nations. The immigration ban that Trump had extended to March 31, 2021, is not withdrawn yet.
To attempt the reversal of rules and policy, on January 20, 2021, the White House Chief of Staff gave an update that guides the agencies to:
- Freeze making of or publication of all new guidelines.
- The Freeze publication of rules that have not yet been published.
- Freeze for 60 days (until 31 March 2021) the rules that have been published, however, have not yet taken effect, stating further for the agencies to:
- a) consider opening a 30-day comment period to permit interested parties to give comments about issues of fact, law, and policy raised by those rules.
- b) consider pending petitions for reconsideration involving such rules.
- c) where necessary to continue to review these questions of fact, law, and policy, and consider further delaying, or publishing for notice and comment proposed rules further delaying, such rules beyond the 60-day period.
- d) undertake further deliberation before taking any action on or under those rules that raise substantial questions of fact, law, or policy.
Reversing Trump’s Damage on H-1B & Reforming Immigration Laws
The Biden Administration has also sent a legislative package. The detailed documentation isn’t available yet, however the package of proposed changes includes the following:
- Clearing employment-based green card backlogs, and eliminating per-country visa caps
- Making it simpler for graduates of U.S. universities with advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees to stay in the United States
- Continue to give dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorization
- Preventing youngsters from “aging out” of the system when they turn 21 years old
- Creating a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development, authorizing the USCIS to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions
- Incentivizing higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas (like H-1B) to prevent unfair competition with American workers
- Providing simpler routes for foreign students who get US STEM degrees
Politically, this is a good time for immigration laws to be redone and modernized. Closing from different polls conducted over the last two years. 70% of the US population considers immigration to be important for the United States. Democrats, that is Biden’s party, have the majority part (although a slim one) to pass laws and be effective.
Further, looking back upon the history of attempted immigration law reforms. The last major comprehensive immigration bill was passed by the Senate, yet not by the then Republican-controlled House. The majority of the Republican senators who were in favor of that bill are still active members of the Senate. These thoughts were also a part of the last failed change.
The speed, efficiency, and expertise shown by the Biden group make it inevitable. That we will see intelligent and well-considered administration of laws and policy for at least the next four years. That itself is a great assurance for businesses and individuals to make plans with a sense of repose.