With a new face in office, we can expect some new immigration laws to come into play in the coming year. What might those laws be and what might change in regard to existing policies remains to be seen, but here are a few things that we do know.
New Immigration Laws: What We Can Expect in the Coming Year
During his presidency, President Trump enacted more than 400 regulatory actions pertaining to immigration. Biden is expected to reverse more than a few of these actions, but we are reminded that this could take some time.
What kind of changes should we see taking place?
Changes to Who Can Enter the Country
Trump declared that individuals from a number of countries were banned from visiting the United States, based simply on their country of origin. This was intended to create a “safer country” by preventing individuals from countries that have strong ties to terrorism from entering the country. In the process, however, this law also forbade many legitimate visitors from entering the United States to visit family, friends, and national monuments and archives.
It is expected that one of the first actions that Biden will take in regard to immigration once he steps into the Oval Office is to repeal the ban that Trump put in place. How long before we see this? It’s expected to be within Biden’s first 30-days in the White House. Why so fast? Because repealing this ban is an easy enough process since nothing new needs to be established to replace the ban that is in place now.
Biden is also expected to reopen the DACA program to applicants that qualify. DACA was a program set in motion by President Obama and it provided protection for illegal immigrants who were bought to the U.S. as young children. President Trump put an end to this program during his presidency. When the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the processing of DACA applications begin again, the order was all but ignored and no further applications have been processed since.
It is expected that Biden will reinstitute the DACA policy, though, and he is also expected to give qualifying individuals authorization to work in the United States.
The Issue Of Being a Public Charge
The public charge rule (also known as the “Wealth rule”) has been in place for a long time, but President Trump was the only president to pay such close attention to it. This rule is used to screen incoming immigrants to determine whether they are likely to rely on U.S. public systems for assistance while they are in the United States. Individuals holding a green card who are deemed very likely to rely on public assistance programs could then be denied citizenship in the United States.
This decision combined with an exponential increase in the immigration fee has been significant points of contention as they promote the wealthy and turn away anyone who does not fall into a specific income requirement.
An Increase in the Refugee Cap
Another change that came about during President Trump’s presidency was the steep decline in the number of refugees that the United States admitted. Under President Obama, refugee entry to the U.S. was capped at 110,000. President Trump brought that cap down to an unbelievable 15,000. Biden has already pledged to bring that cap up to 125,000 for the 2021 fiscal year.
Other Tasks Won’t Be As Simple
In an article from VOA News entitled “US Immigration Policy Changes Expected Under Biden” written by Aline Barros, we are reminded that while some immigration changes like those we mentioned above may be “easier” to rectify, there are also many immigration rules and regulations that President Trump put into effect that will be much more difficult to set aside. That isn’t to say that President Biden won’t change these policies, but that it will likely be a while before those intended changes take place.
What type of things fall under this heading?
The “Remain in Mexico Policy” that Trump enacted that forced immigrants to live in border towns at the Mexican border while they awaited their immigration hearing – something that can take years with the current court backlog. Undoing this program will involve a lot of foundation work so that the already fragile immigration system does not simply crumble with yet another change on the books.
The policy that President Trump enacted that allowed for refugees to be turned away if they traveled through Central America on their way to the U.S., but did not apply for refugee status in the countries that they passed through before getting to the United States. This decision left many refugees without a safe place to seek refuge and denied them the humanitarian assistance that they so desperately needed. And, while Biden seems to have every intention of turning this decision around, there is no doubt that a lot of the groundwork has to be laid before any impactful change will be seen.
The Impact of New Immigration Laws
The impact of new immigration laws under Biden’s presidency can only be a positive one. The nation’s immigration system is in disarray and is so fragile that the smallest shift could cause it to collapse completely. Such a collapse would create a whole new host of problems both for the U.S. Government and for immigrants in the United States or those seeking residence in the United States.
So, while there is a promise of change and there is no doubt that things can only get better under the new president, there is a matter of how long it will take to put these new plans into effect and erase the damage done by the destructive immigration policies of President Trump.
Looking For an Immigration Attorney in Pasadena, California?
If you’re looking for a reputable immigration attorney in Pasadena, California who can help you to manage your current immigration case and answer your immigration questions, Nelson and Associates can help! Just pick up the phone and give us a call today at 626-683-3451 to set up a consultation.