Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was confirmed today as the 46th president of the United States, and he has just started the process of undoing Trump’s immigration policies. Most importantly, before the day’s over, President Biden will have signed a few executive orders related to immigration. Also, he has proposed a major immigration bill to Congress that, whenever passed, would give a number of major benefits to foreign nationals trying to become lawful permanent residents (i.e., “green card” holders).
Executive Orders | Immigration Policies
The following are summaries of the immigration-related executive orders President Biden is signing today:
- End of “Muslim Ban” – Effective quickly, the travel ban Trump authorized, which applied primarily to different Muslim majority nations, is no longer in effect.
- Protection for “Dreamers” – President Biden ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take action to ensure the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which gives immigration protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
- New Priorities for Immigration Enforcement – Per President Biden, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies will set new priorities for enforcement efforts. This probably will result in a shift in focus to undocumented immigrants who also have criminal convictions.
- Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Qualifying Liberians – President Biden is expanding the DED designation for qualifying Liberians until 30th June 2022.
- End of New Border Wall Construction – President Biden is stopping Trump’s unsuccessful efforts to erect a border wall covering the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Proposed Immigration Reform Bill
President Biden is asking Congress to quickly pass a bill that would change the U.S. immigration process. While the bill covers numerous aspects of U.S. immigration policy, what follows is a summary of some of the key proposed provisions:
- Provide a path for U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants;
- Take various steps to eliminate backlogs of family-based green cards, including recovering unused visas and expanding per-country caps;
- Take various steps to eliminate backlogs of employment-based green cards, including recovering unused visas and eliminating the per-country cap for employment-based green cards;
- Provide H-4 dependents with work approval and prevent dependent children from aging out.
- Provide the DHS with the right to change the number of green cards available each fiscal year based on economic conditions.
Also, Check [February 2021 Visa Bulletin]
President Biden has numerous significant challenges to face. It is unclear how much of a priority immigration reform will be for the new government. But, at the very least, there is reason to believe that U.S. immigration policy will be more favorable to foreign nationals than it was the previous four years.