The Biden Promise to Modernize America’s Immigration System

By: Michael Bhotiwihok

“The Times They Are A-Changin’…”  These seminal words from Bob Dylan envelop what lies ahead for immigration law in the United States after the inauguration of President-elect Joseph Biden in January of 2021.

While it is difficult to predict exactly what will happen, it is certain that immigration in the United States will change for the better under the Biden Administration.

Even though the Trump Administration’s deconstruction of the immigration system will take years to fix, there are certain aspects that can easily and quickly be addressed and rebuilt.  President-elect Biden will most likely use Executive Actions to improve and restore the United States immigration system to its Pre-Trump operating norms.  In addition, the prospect for comprehensive immigration reform will rise to the forefront of national discussions and serious Congressional consideration.  The welcomed repeal of the draconian Trump Administration immigration policies will have a profound impact on both legal and illegal immigration.

President-elect Biden is expected to revive the DACA program,  remove the Trump Administration asylum program restrictions, restore the refugee cap to normal levels, stop unnecessary construction on the wall along the border with Mexico, and eliminate the travel ban.  Other potential changes are anticipated with ending funding for private detention centers, allowing family reunification, the continuation of legal immigration through family members with either green cards or United States citizenship, and removing the stringent changes to the public charge rule.  The most significant change could very well come from a temporary ban on removals/deportations until new guidance/policies can be implemented at the ground level with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Apart from rolling back the immigration changes during the Trump Administration, President-elect Biden intends to expand and improve many of the polices created under President Obama.  After the Biden Administration implements these immigration changes, noncitizens are advised to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney to understand what impact the changes will have on their immigration case.