A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden's Immigration Policies

President-elect Joe Biden has announced his immigration policies, which are markedly and expectedly different from those of President Trump.  According to their website information,  the following are some of the actions that the Biden Administration will take on immigration in the first 100 days of Biden's presidency:

Highly-Skilled Workers: Work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages. Then, support expansion of the number of high-skilled visas and eliminate the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs. 

Family-based Immigration:  Allow any approved family-based applicant to receive a temporary non-immigrant visa until the permanent visa is processed; support legislation that treats the spouse and children of green card holders as immediate relatives (exempting them from caps).  Allow parents to bring their minor children with them at the time that they immigrate. 

Employment-based Immigration: Work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high U.S. unemployment. Exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programs in STEM fields in the U.S. who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy. 

Naturalization:  Restore and streamline the naturalization process for green card holders to ensure applications are processed quickly. Reject the imposition of unreasonable fees. Devote resources to prioritize integration and promote immigrant entrepreneurship, increase access to language instruction, and promote civil engagement. 

Undocumented Immigrants:  Commit political capital to deliver legislative immigration reform to provide a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants. 

Border: Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s policies of separating parents from their children at the border and prioritize the reunification of any children still separated from their families. End prolonged detention. Stop building of the U.S.-Mexican border wall. 

Asylum: End Trump’s restrictive asylum policies regarding victims of gang and domestic violence,  systematic prosecution of adult asylum seekers for misdemeanor illegal entry, the ability of members of the LGBTQ community to seek asylum, claims based on members of a “particular social group", limitation of number asylum applications, etc.  Facilitate humanitarian resources from faith-based shelters, non-governmental aid organizations, legal non-profits, and refugee assistance agencies. 

Public Charge Rule:  Reverse Trump’s public charge rule. 

DACA/Dreamers:  Reinstate the DACA program and explore all legal options to protect DACA families from inhumane separation. Allow Dreamers to receive federal student aid (loans, Pell grants) and seek education opportunities. 

Travel Bans:  End the travel and refugee bans against Muslims.

TPS/DED:  Protect TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders from being returned to countries that are unsafe.  Offer a path to citizenship through legislative immigration reform to TPS/DED holders who have been in the US for an extended period of time 

Enforcement of Immigration Laws:  Target people who committed serious offences and those who are threats to public safety and national security. ICE and CBP will report directly to the President. 

Military Personnel: Protect and expand opportunities for military personnel and their families. Create a parole process for veterans deported by the Trump Administration to reunite them with their families and military colleagues in the U.S. 

Temporary Workers:  Work with Congress to reform the current system of temporary work visas to allow workers in select industries to switch jobs.  

Visas for Rural Areas: Create a new visa category to allow cities and counties to petition for higher levels of immigrants to support their growth. 

Domestic Violence Survivors: End delays of processing time and triple the current cap of 10,000 on U-visas.

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