During his campaign for presidency, Joe Biden promised to “welcome immigrants to our community” again, as well as to “reassert America’s commitment to asylum seekers and refugees.” On his first day in office, President Biden signed several executive orders to undo some of Trump’s restrictive immigration policies. So, those of you who have been affected, can breathe a sigh of relief.
Biden halted construction on the Southern border wall as one of his executive orders, which was an issue that largely gained attention during the 2016 elections. While the wall was never meant to physically stop people from crossing the border, it sent a very clear message. The meaning behind it implied a much less welcoming atmosphere for those seeking asylum.
Furthermore, the Biden administration included a 100 day pause on deportations which would allow for prioritization. However, while this seemed as the first step towards Biden fulfilling his promise, it has since been challenged by the U.S. District Judge, Drew Tipton. The 14 day block protests Biden’s 100-day moratorium as illegal and unjustified. This is the first of many anticipated challenges to Biden’s immigration plan.
In 2017, Trump instated travel restrictions on targeted Muslim majority countries resulting in the rise of Islamophobia. The ban positioned many in limbo. Like many of Trump’s policies, it brought with it many detrimental effects. One of the executive orders that was recently signed will reverse these travel restrictions.
The Biden Administration has reinstated the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for specifically Liberians currently residing in the United States until June 30, 2022 with such exceptions.
As for the recipients of DACA, whom for many have identified as American for most of their lives but have been denounced as otherwise, Biden has fortified and promised to preserve DACA as part of his 100 days in office. These individuals have lived in fear of losing their status throughout most of Trump’s administration, given its attack on the DACA program. The Biden administration promises to dismantle it. So DACA recipients, YOU ARE HERE TO STAY. What many hope to see during this new administration, is an immigration reform and a path for citizenship.
As an approach to rebuilding our immigration system, Biden proposed a bill called the U.S Citizenship Act of 2021. The bill will be led by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Representative Linda Sanchez of California. If passed, the program would legalize approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the U.S and create a pathway for citizenship. This would included individuals who are:
- currently present in the U.S.
- pays taxes
- passes a background check
eligibility for temporary status, then 5 years later, apply for a green card, and eventually attain citizenship. Meanwhile, certain groups such as farmworkers, TPS, DACA recipients would immediately be able to apply for green cards. In addition, the cap on U-visas would rise from the current state of 10,000 to 30,000. Along with eliminating the 3 and 10 year bans, the bill advocates to address the root causes of migration from Central America while simultaneously boosting investments at the US/Mexico border.
Although 2020 brought many challenges to us in many ways, under the Biden Administration, 2021, holds a new chapter for the immigrant community.