By:  Richard Hanus, Esq.

Published July 18, 2021

America is more of a salad than a melting pot. More than one million people obtained lawful permanent resident status in 2019. They came from all over the world, bringing their skills and cultures into America.

The White House has framed Biden’s immigration policy as facilitating that mission. They promise to help thousands of immigrants establish homes in the country. But how they will do that is a little uncertain.

How has Biden reacted to Trump’s immigration policies? What promises has Biden made for visas and green cards? What is the main immigration bill that he is pushing?

Answer these questions and you can figure out the future of American immigrants. Here is your quick guide.

Repealing Trump’s Policies

President Trump dismantled protections for undocumented immigrants and made it harder for others to emigrate. President Biden has devoted much of his time in office to ending Trump’s policies.

On his first day in office, Biden issued a memo preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This allowed hundreds of thousands of young immigrants to remain in the country – although a federal court decision this past week once again puts DACA on hold for the moment.

On the same day, Biden signed an executive order ending the national emergency at the border. This ended the funds that went toward the construction of a border wall.

Biden has also issued presidential proclamations. These are measures the president gets to implement unilaterally, but their legitimacy are often called into question in the context of political partisan bickering and litigation.

One proclamation ended discriminatory immigrant bans, including the Muslim ban.

Passing New Immigration Laws

The president wants to launch immigration reform on his own terms. He has made a pledge to raise the refugee ceiling to 125,000 per year.

But the White House issued a statement in April saying they were keeping pre-existing caps. As of this writing, they have only raised the ceiling to 62,500. Refugee rights and protections are strong, but Biden could take steps to make them stronger.

One area where Biden has made progress is in humanizing the immigration process and ensuring legal immigration decision-making is  more in line with congressional intent, rather than finding ways to deny applications.

President Biden has announced his support for the US Citizenship Act of 2021. The act would provide a pathway to citizenship for nearly all undocumented immigrants. The pathway would involve graduated steps, including an employment authorization stage and then lawful permanent resident status (green card), and eventually U.S. citizenship.  Most notably, such a plan would DACA immigrants, foreign nationals where were brought to the U.S. as children.

The US Citizenship Act has been introduced in Congress and but has yet to advance beyond the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. Biden will need to use gamesmanship and his legislative connections and to get the bill passed, and likely the reach of the proposed legislation will have to be moderated.

The Essentials of Biden’s Immigration Policy

Biden’s immigration policy consists of two main categories. He has spent much of his early days in office dismantling Trump’s programs.

These efforts have focused on undocumented immigrants. Biden has ended funding for the border wall and resolved the Muslim ban.

Biden is transitioning to new policies. He has raised refugee caps, but not to the degree he has promised. The US Citizenship Act of 2021 offers opportunities for young people to become residents, but the act has stalled.

In the meantime, foreign nationals will have to settle for legal options currently on the books. To help access these options and avenues for U.S. immigration, there are professionals who can help. USA Visa Counsel offers these immigration law services, so contact us today.

PUBLISHED July 18, 2021– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2021, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois