The end of 2020 brings about hope for new prosperity, resolutions, and this year – a new presidency! President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris don’t have the cleanest track record when it comes to immigration policy. Here we discuss the Biden presidency and the future of immigration.
During the primaries Harris’s immigration platform included a new “roadmap to citizenship” for 2.1 million Dreamers, removing various technical bars that can prevent DACA recipients from transitioning to green cards. She also promised to issue new rules defining separation from a close family member as “extreme hardship” for immigration purposes — a move that would make it easier for undocumented immigrants to transition to legal status without first leaving the United States for several years.
While Harris has focused on protecting undocumented immigrants, Biden’s immigration plan included more detailed strategies to improve the legal immigration system. Biden has pledged to remove roadblocks to naturalization or green card holders, launch a coordinated federal effort to help new Americans integrate into the economy, and streamline both high-skilled and seasonal employment-based visa programs. He’s also called for foreign Ph.D. graduates to receive a green card along with their diploma, and for STEM graduates to be exempted from caps on employment-based visas. Biden recognizes that temporary work visas are good for our country, but that they have been abused in some cases, particularly with regard to the H-1B program. Furthermore, he supports expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country.
As an Indian-American, Harris might be able to persuade Biden to focus his attention on the visa bulletin board that currently leaves many Indian green card applicants facing century-long waits for green cards. In 2019, Harris unsuccessfully led a push to reform the country cap system, hoping to free up more green cards for countries such as India and China. As a VP, it’s possible that as she may be able to resurrect those plans, which remains highly controversial as the backlog it will create for other countries will place them in a similar situation as India and China currently struggle with.
Whether or not Biden will side with Harris on pivotal immigration reform is up in the air. However, it’s likely that we will see Biden use executive authority to undo many of the Trump administration’s most egregious anti-immigrant policies. These executive actions could include:
- Reversing the public charge rule
- Reinstating DACA
- Rescinding all the Muslim bans
- Protecting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders
- Paroling deported veterans back into the United States to reunite with their families
The success of the Biden-Harris administration will rely heavily on two factors: Democratic control of both the House and Senate and Biden’s willingness to issue executive orders in the manner that the Trump administration did.
Whichever way the pendulum swings, the team at Purdy Law is ready to get to work for you.