With a change in president, we see new executive orders. President Joe Biden has issued orders on issues ranging from DACA to the “Muslim ban.”
Here are the highlights:
President Biden has fortified the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He has also called upon Congress to allow Dreamers to apply immediately for lawful permanent residence (green cards), and to provide a pathway to citizenship.
This leaves DACA in place for the foreseeable future. As we have discussed before, a court had already ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to resume accepting new applications and processing renewals. There are currently about 650,000 DACA recipients.
Biden has called upon Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for most unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. who want to be citizens. There are currently approximately 10 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.
The Trump administration had a policy of aggressively pursuing deportation against anyone living in the U.S. without authorization. Biden has withdrawn that policy and put a 100-day pause on all deportations. Now, deportations will focus on people who commit crimes or are national security threats. Also, Biden has temporarily blocked the deportation of Liberians living in the U.S.
Biden has revoked the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude non-citizens from the census, which is performed every 10 years.
President Trump blocked nationals of several predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. Biden has told the State Department to begin processing visas immediately and to work on how to address harm caused to those who were unable to enter the U.S. due to this “Muslim ban.”
Biden has ended the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy, which required applicants for asylum or others who seek entry at the border with Mexico to wait in Mexico until their applications could be processed. Critics of the policy said that this put people in serious jeopardy of lacking shelter, being kidnapped, or being victims of drug-related violence.
Finally, Biden has terminated Trump’s emergency declaration regarding the southern border. This emergency declaration had allowed the diversion of billions of dollars in defense spending to build a border wall with Mexico. The Biden administration will now review whether the emergency declaration and diversion of defense money was legal.
Biden also plans to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress. That bill supposedly adds resources to the system to allow additional green cards and visas and to reduce backlogs. And, it eliminates some barriers to entry that kept deportees permanently separated from U.S. family members.
If you have questions about U.S. immigration, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people live and work in the U.S.