The Biden administration recently made some major policy changes that could impact U.S. immigrants. President Biden committed to the 100-day halt on deportations when he was campaigning last year. On Inauguration Day, he signed 17 executive orders, six of which were immigration-related directives.
What is a 100-Day Halt?
President Biden ordered a 100-day halt on deportations of some undocumented immigrants, effective January 22, 2021. The goal is to ensure a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety. That same day, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memo, stating that they would pause the removal of certain non-citizens ordered to be deported. The halt does not apply to:
- Undocumented immigrants who engaged in or are suspected of acts of espionage or terrorism, or posed threats to the national security of the U.S.
- Immigrants who arrived in the country after November 1
- Immigrants who waived their rights to remain in the country
- Immigrants who the DHS determined to be removable
What About the Other Executive Orders?
President Biden also signed an order that rescinded a ban on Muslim travelers, which includes 13 Muslim and African countries. This order directed the State Department to start processing visa applications from these countries. A new immigration reform package was also introduced to offer permanent residency for migrant farm workers, as well as opportunities for undocumented individuals to obtain citizenship. Another directive rescinded a 2017 order that expanded which immigrants could be arrested and deported. President Biden stated that the policies that governed who would be prioritized for deportation would also be reworked.
Are There Other Changes?
There was another memo issued to extend work permits and deportation protections for certain Liberian immigrants. This memo also directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to move forward on adjudicating green card applications for Liberians who qualify for a 2019 legalization program passed by Congress. President Biden issued a proclamation to pause construction at the U.S.-Mexico border within seven days. This ended former President Trump’s national emergency declaration that diverted billions of dollars of military funding into the wall’s construction.
The Biden administration also plans to use their authority to end public charge rules that can make it more difficult for low-income immigrants to obtain green cards; the administration also plans to put an end to certain asylum policies in place along the U.S.-Mexico border. The DHS announced that the Remain in Mexico policy would also be suspended; this rule allowed border authorities to quickly expel migrants without the benefit of a court hearing.
The DHS stated that people who are apprehended at the border in the days to come would not be eligible for the new immigration polices proposed. If President Biden’s proposals do pass, millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in the country could obtain legal status.
What Else Should I Know About the Policies?
The new policies would let the DHS devote more resources to other pressing challenges at the border, including the importance of following appropriate health protocols and guidelines, rebuilding asylum procedures that will respect due process and human rights, and responding to national security threats, border security, and public safety.
President Biden’s plans include to safeguard protections for Dreamers as well. This group contains a large number of college students, as well as young alumni who depend on the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. This policy allows certain immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to obtain a renewable two-year period of protection from deportation and qualify for work permits.
It is also important to understand an executive order is not the same as a new law. An executive order is a written instruction made by a President, but it does not require approval by Congress. Also, Congress cannot easily overturn executive orders. They can pass legislation that effectively stops the order. A current U.S. President has the authority to overturn an existing executive order by writing another one for that purpose.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC Help Clients with Deportation Concerns
Reach out to the trusted Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC if you need legal help with any type of immigration or deportation issue. For a free consultation, call 215-496-0690 or fill out our online form. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.