As President Joe Biden settles into the Oval office after his inauguration ceremony as the 46th President of the United States, all eyes are on him as he promises a massive immigration reform to both legal and illegal immigration to the US. While his primary focus is on reuniting families and supporting children of immigrant parents, non-immigrant visa holders too, have somethings to look forward to.
On his first day, President Biden intends to roll out some critical immigration changes, revoke previous executive orders and revise most immigration laws instituted in the last four years by the Trump administration. This would include a fast-tracked plan to achieve US citizenship as well as increasing refugee admissions.
While the motion will be set rolling immediately, these plans will follow due process and require Congress approval before citizenships can be awarded.
Following is the list of potential immigration changes to anticipate from the Biden-Harris administration in the next 100 days:
- US Citizenship – In Eight Years
Qualifying immigrants will be granted (temporarily) green card. Once they pass a background check and pay taxes for five years, they will be eligible to petition for US citizenship three years later.
To Be Noted: To qualify, immigrants must have been in the United States as of Jan. 1, 2021.
- Revoke Travel Bans
Work on revoking all travel and entry bans for legal immigration. This will include revoking travel bans on Muslim countries, non-immigrant work visa holders like H1-B, J1 and L1 visas as well new green card applicants abroad.
Currently, H1-B entry ban has been extended until March 31, 2021.
- EAD For Spouses
Grant work permits or Employment Authorization Cards for spouses and children of temporary work visa holders.
This will have to go through the motions in Congress since the total number of available H-1B visas for high-skilled foreign workers will not be expanded.
- DACA – Reunite Children/Minors
Grant temporary legal status to minors from Central America
Central American relatives of U.S. citizens will be admitted to the U.S., if they have been approved for U.S. residency.
Expand refugee admissions program at multiple processing centers outside of the U.S. Create a better system to identify and screen those who qualify to be admitted as refugees into the United States.
- Border Wall
Stop all plans to extend a border wall. Instead will have the Department of Homeland Security use technology to implement new security measures along the border, both at and between ports of entry.
- A Covid stimulus and relief package including a mask mandate on federal properties and during interstate travel;
- Rejoining the Paris climate accords and the Iran nuclear deal;
- Extending limits on student loan payments,
- Restricting evictions and foreclosures under the pandemic
An immigration overhaul was one of the primary promises of the Biden-Harris team and seeing it happen after today’s inauguration is going to be a monumental step towards that promise. Be it overturning the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries or the executive order against green card holders from outside the country, President Biden is definitely giving a lot of hope to scores of immigrants.
In his own words, “I will in fact, countermand the executive orders that the president has in fact initiated that are contrary to, what I think, is either his authority and/or even if it is his authority, contrary to the interest of the United States…”.