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What will change in US immigration policy in 2021

When newly elected President Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20, the countdown will begin to fulfill his campaigning immigration promises, including a series of priority changes he pledged to take on his first day in office. More about what immigrants in the United States should expect in 2021, the publication told Boundless.

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However, Biden's ability to deliver on those promises will depend on a number of factors, not all of which are under his control.

Biden's top immigration priorities:

1. Saving the "dreamers"

This year Supreme Court reinstated DACA program, but legal battles over the fate of the "dreamers" continue. The Biden administration is committed to ending the uncertainty and providing “dreamers” with a path to citizenship, but this requires the involvement of Congress. A large amount of legislative controversy is expected before the deal is concluded.

Biden may try to reform DACA without congressional involvement to give the dreamers more stability. One option is to expand the DACA program to help so-called legal dreamers who grew up in the United States as dependents of legal immigrants but are required by law to leave the country when they turn 21.

2. Cancellation of Trump decrees

The administration of President Donald Trump has introduced over 400 new immigration rules - an incredible number for a president with a single term. Some of the measures were enacted by decrees and could be reversed just as easily with the stroke of Biden's pen. Others, however, were implemented through complex government processes that would be much more difficult to untangle. For example, social burden rule cannot simply be canceled; instead, the Biden administration will need to embark on lengthy rule-making work to come up with a replacement.

On the subject: After Biden's victory, immigrants from Mexico go to the US border en masse

One quicker approach might be for the Biden administration to stop defending Trump's rules in courts - nearly every one of them has been appealed. Without protection from the Department of Justice lawyers, the courts will quickly reverse these innovations.

However, the difficulty of repealing existing rules means that some of Trump's softer rules (such as the social media account verification policy when filing immigration applications) may remain in place simply because there is still a lot of work to be done.

3. Simplifying the life of legal immigrants

Between 2016 and 2019, the share of approved immigrant visas decreased by 17%, and in the 2020 financial year - by another 46%. President-elect Biden has pledged to dismantle the "invisible wall" of Trump's regulatory barriers. However, his most ambitious proposals, including changes to the system for issuing green cards and H1B visas, will require congressional approval.

In the meantime, Biden will face the challenges of reforming USCIS, shortening processing times, and abandoning Trump-era operating procedures designed to slow or discourage immigration. Biden has signaled his commitment to change by appointing the Hispanic immigrant head of the Department of Homeland Security. However, there are concerns that Trump's remaining appointees may try to thwart the reform process.

4. Law enforcement reform

ICE and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are backing Trump's policies while immigration courts are struggling to cope with the influx of cases, with over 1,2 million immigration cases pending.

Biden's first step will be to press the pause button: he called the mass deportations of the Barack Obama administration a "big mistake" and plans to suspend the deportations for 100 days while he puts things in order. Biden also announced his intention to maintain and expand the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) program, without which many immigrants who entered the United States fleeing war or natural disasters could be deported.

5. Demolition of the wall

Removing Trump's border wall would be a symbolically powerful act. Biden said he would stop any future construction and end Trump's policy of diverting the US military budget to wall projects. The Pentagon estimates that this could save the US government about $ 2,6 billion.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

Beyond the wall itself, Biden will also seek to repair the damage done by the family separation policy at the border. He plans to create a federal task force to ensure the rapid reunification of children and parents who remain separated; this could pave the way for further measures, such as allowing separated parents from their children to return to the United States.

6. Restoring refugee programs

Biden will seek to reverse Trump's efforts to ban the entry of refugees and asylum seekers. Biden could quickly increase the annual humanitarian immigration quota, but rebuilding the necessary infrastructure will be more difficult. At least 25 asylum seekers are currently in Mexico pending a review of their cases, so abandoning the Trump administration's policies could create huge logistical challenges, especially during a pandemic.

Therefore, Biden reneged on his "first day" promise of asylum reform. Senior officials in the Biden administration recently warned migrants not to assume the border will open quickly. They said it would likely take months to safely replace the Trump-era migration and asylum infrastructure.

On the subject: Mistakes and actions of immigrants that can lead to the loss of a green card

The Biden administration will revolutionize immigration issues, and some key areas, such as deportation, will see rapid changes with great implications for immigrants. But despite the Biden administration's commitment to scrapping Trump's immigration policies, breaking the legacy of the outgoing president will not be easy.

Change will come, but slower than many immigration advocates hope. The Biden administration continues to prioritize immigration, but in reality the new president's energy and political capital will be dissipated as he faces a devastated economy, an ongoing pandemic and other major challenges.

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