By Richard Hanus, Esq.
Published May 23, 2021
During his four years in office, former President Trump transformed the immigration system in the United States. He issued more than 400 executive actions that cut legal immigration significantly .
One of President Biden’s priorities has been undoing much of former President Trump’s legacy with his own executive actions. Yet, Trump immigration law has left a mark on the U.S. immigration system. Here are the most important changes you should know about.
What You Should Know About Trump Immigration Law
President Trump’s policy dramatically restricted immigration.
Trump’s promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico were more than a campaign slogan. During his term, the U.S. spent around $15 billion to build approximately 450 miles of wall. The money for this project came from the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Treasury.
Trump adopted a broad interpretation of the public charge rule. Under his interpretation, anyone who might rely on public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid, would not be granted a visa. Besides limiting eligibility for visas, this rule stoked fear amongst immigrants.
Restrictions on H-1B Visas, or work visas for highly qualified immigrants, were also tightened under Trump. These visas are commonly used by companies looking to employ a foreign national in the United States. In 2017, applications for H-1B visas increased by only 3% compared to the previous year. However, challenges to H-1B visa applications rose by 45%. This greatly slows down the process for immigrants seeking job opportunities in the U.S.
Trump’s Lasting Effect on U.S. Immigration
By many accounts, Trump’s immigration laws are gradually being undone by his successor. Since taking office on January 20, President Biden has taken swift action, undoing many of Trump’s policies.
However, there are still holdovers from the Trump administration that Biden has not yet addressed. Given the number of executive actions, it may take a while to address them all. Many experts fear that Trump’s agenda will be more difficult to reverse than it was to implement.
Biden’s policies have also not been able to reverse the social consequences of Trump’s presidency. Messaging has been confusing and unnerving for many immigrants. In March, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would no longer enforce the Trump administration’s version of the public charge rule. But, many immigrant families have chosen to forego the help they need out of fear that they might jeopardize their immigration status.
Many refugees turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border returned to their home countries. President Biden has not reversed Trump’s use of Title 42. This order closes the border to all non-essential travel in the interest of public health. This results in only a smaller fraction of eligible refugees entering the U.S. and finding security.
Trump immigration law has also had a dramatic impact on the labor force. The U.S. economic recovery faces a great threat with average annual labor force growth projected to drop by 59%.
Navigating the Complex U.S. Immigration System
With a new administration in place, Trump immigration law is changing quickly. President Biden has also introduced a number of new policies that will soon be up for debate. It is gearing up to be another tumultuous four years in the world of immigration law.
Stay up-to-date and navigate the complex by contacting an experienced immigration lawyer.