Four days after the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the counting of votes in several key states, yesterday, November 7, former Vice President Joseph Biden was projected to be the winner and president-elect of the country. He will be sworn in and take office on January 20, 2021.
Biden and his team have released their vision for governing the country on their website. The list of his projects includes an immigration plan and a promise to take several actions within the first 100 days of his presidency.
Below, I will explain the impact President-elect Biden's immigration plan could have on the immigrant community and its likelihood of success.
Table of Contents
Biden's immigration plan
During the election campaign, President-elect Biden released a document entitled The Biden Plan To Secure Our Values As A Nation Of Immigrants" (The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of ImmigrantsThe report details his views on the U.S. immigration system.
According to the document, Biden proposes to "vigorously pursue policies that safeguard" U.S. security and provide "a fair and equitable system that helps grow and improve" the economy, while securing the country's values.
In broad strokes, his immigration plan promises:
1. Take urgent action to reverse the damage caused by Trump and restore America's values.. This includes the reinstatement of DACA - the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an immediate review of the decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for several countries and end the Trump administration's policies restricting access to asylum in the U.S..
2. Modernizing the U.S. immigration system.. This includes creating a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants who have been living in the country, preserving the visa lottery, and increasing the number of family-based and work-based immigrant visas.
3. Welcoming immigrants into our communities. This includes establishing Offices of Immigrant Affairs in city halls, or at the county and state level, so that there are local government officials focused on making policies inclusive.
4. Reaffirm the commitment of the United States to asylum seekers and refugees.. This includes increasing the number of refugees admitted annually to the country and increasing the number of asylum officers and immigration judges to review cases more quickly.
5. Addressing the root causes of irregular migration. This includes addressing the root causes of migration by promoting greater security, economic development and respect for the rule of law in Central America.
6. Implementing effective border screening. This includes investing in better technology along with privacy protections at the border, improving collaboration between federal agencies, and working with Mexico and Canada as partners.
A more extensive summary of the Biden immigration plan can be found at the end of this article.
Impact Biden's immigration plan could have on the immigrant community
President-elect Biden's immigration plan would have a positive impact for the immigrant community and the United States if implemented.
The proposals would resolve several of the difficulties with the current immigration system and help modernize it. The United States needs foreign talent to compete globally and our immigration system is not working properly.
Chances of success of Biden's immigration plan
President-elect Biden will immediately be able to reverse the Trump Administration's executive actions.
However, changing immigration laws, including creating a new comprehensive immigration reform law, requires the support of the U.S. Congress and the American people.
Currently, there is a great political divide in the U.S. House and Senate and in the nation as a whole. Unless our representatives in Congress agree on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, future President Biden will never be able to implement his proposals.
Also, there is the possibility that President-elect Biden will change his mind and not act on his promises. Unfortunately, politicians sometimes promise more than they can deliver.
Beware of fraud
President-elect Biden's immigration plan is a proposal and does not have the effect of law.
Be very careful with unscrupulous people who make you believe that the Biden immigration plan can already provide you with some immigration benefit. Do not pay money to anyone for something that does not exist.
Even if comprehensive immigration reform is enacted, it is likely that many undocumented immigrants will not qualify for these programs.
All immigrants should seek legal advice to evaluate their immigration options. In the United States, only licensed immigration attorneys or non-profit organizations with federally accredited legal representatives can give you legal advice and help you with your immigration paperwork.
Never seek immigration legal advice from notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers and multiservices.
Below is a more detailed summary of President-elect Biden's immigration plan:
Biden's Immigration Plan
Will take urgent action to reverse the Trump Administration's immigration policies.
According to Biden's immigration plan, the following actions will be taken within the first 100 days of his presidency:
1. Immediately reverse the Trump Administration's policies that separate parents from their children at the border. This includes: ending the prosecution of parents for minor immigration violations, and prioritizing the reunification of children who are still separated from their families.
2. End Trump administration policies restricting access to asylum in the United States. This includes: no longer imposing additional restrictions on individuals traveling through Mexico or Guatemala; no longer preventing victims of gangs and domestic violence from receiving asylum; no longer prosecuting adult asylum seekers for minor illegal entry offenses; and no longer limiting members of the LGBTQ community from qualifying for asylum.
3. Ending the Trump Administration's "metering" policy.which limits the number of asylum applications accepted per day. This forces asylum seekers to wait on the streets of Mexican border cities. Biden pledges to direct the necessary resources to ensure that asylum claims are processed fairly and efficiently, while treating families and children with compassion and sensitivity.
4. It will increase humanitarian resources at the border and promote public-private initiatives.. Biden will seek to dramatically increase U.S. government resources to support migrants awaiting evaluation of their asylum claims and the organizations that serve their needs.
5.Will end prolonged detention and reinvest in a case management program. Biden will seek to sign into law protections to safeguard immigrant children to ensure that their treatment is consistent with their best interests and will invest in community-based case management programs, including those supported by faith-based organizations such as Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, to move migrants to safe environments as quickly as possible.
6. Will repeal the Trump Administration's public charge rule.which allows immigration officials to deny visas or permanent residency to immigrants who have availed themselves of government services, such as SNAP or Medicaid benefits.
7. It will end the Administration's National Emergency that diverts federal funds from the Department of Defense to build a wall.. Biden proposes to direct federal resources to smart border control efforts, such as investment to improve screening infrastructure at ports of entry, that strengthen U.S. security.
8. Protect "dreamers" and their families. Biden promises to reinstate the DACA program and explore all legal options to protect their families, and will also ensure that "dreamers" are eligible for federal student loan aid to access a debt-free college education.
9. It will lift entry bans on refugees from Muslim-majority countries..
10. Demand an immediate review of the decision to terminate TPS.Biden promised to protect people with TPS and those with Deferred Enforced Departures (DED) from being returned to countries to which they are not safe to return. Biden pledged to protect people with TPS and those with Deferred Enforced Departures (DED) from being returned to countries to which it is unsafe to return. People with TPS/DED who have been in the country for an extended period of time and have built lives in the United States will also be offered a path to permanent residency and U.S. citizenship through immigration reform legislation.
11. Will restore priorities for immigration enforcement.. Biden proposes to focus enforcement on threats to public safety and national security, not on people who have never been convicted of a felony and who have lived, worked and contributed to the U.S. economy; and he promises to end workplace raids. In addition, it will protect sensitive locations, such as hospitals, schools and churches, from immigration enforcement.
12. Ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel meet professional standards. and be held accountable if they commit inhumane treatment. Biden will increase resources for training and require transparency and independent oversight of ICE and CBP activities.
13. It will protect and expand opportunities for people who risk their lives in military service.. Biden will not target men and women who served in the military, or their families, for deportation. He will also direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to create a parole process for veterans deported by the Trump Administration to reunite them with their families in the United States.
14. Restore and defend the naturalization process for people with green cards.. It will streamline and improve the naturalization process to make it more accessible to qualified green card holders.
15. Will revitalize the New Americans Task Force and promote immigrant entrepreneurshipto boost the economy by coordinating with federal agencies to offer resources to support the community on a variety of topics, including language learning, entrepreneurship and financial management, workforce training and guidance on the naturalization process.
16. Will convene a regional leaders' meetingincluding El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Canada, to address the drivers of migration and propose a regional resettlement solution. Biden will seek to institute a comprehensive, multi-national plan to address the region's challenges.
Will modernize the U.S. immigration system
Under Biden's immigration plan, he will work with Congress to pass legislation that:
1. Create a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.. President-elect Biden will aggressively advocate for legislation to create a pathway to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are current with their taxes and have passed a background check.
2. Reform the visa program for temporary workers in selected industries. Biden will work with Congress to reform the current system of temporary work visas to allow workers in these industries to switch jobs, while certifying the need in the labor market for foreign workers. Employers will have to pay fair wages and allow the right of all workers to join a union and exercise their labor rights.
3. Reform the temporary visa system in order to establish a wage-based allocation process, and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure that they are aligned with the labor market and are not used to undercut wages. Biden will also support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating employment-based visa caps per country, which create long backlogs.
4. Provide a pathway to legalization for farmworkers who have worked for years on U.S. farms and continue to work in agriculture.. Biden will also ensure that labor and safety standards, including overtime pay, humane living conditions, and protection from pesticides and heat exposure, are enforced with respect to these particularly vulnerable workers.
5. Reject the false choice between immigration for employment and immigration for the family. Biden will support family-based immigration by preserving family unification as the foundation of our immigration system; by allowing any approved applicant to receive a temporary nonimmigrant visa until the permanent visa is processed; and by supporting legislation that treats the spouse and children of green card holders as the immediate relatives they are, exempting them from the limits and allowing parents to bring their minor children at the time of immigration.
6. Preserve the diversity visa program commonly known as the visa lottery..
7. Increase the number of visas offered for permanent employment-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions.. Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas granted for permanent employment-based immigration, and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas in times of high unemployment in the United States.
Also exempt from any limits will be recent graduates of doctoral programs in STEM fields in the United States, who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the global economy.
8. Create a new visa category to allow cities and counties to apply for higher levels of immigrants to support their growth. Biden will support a program to allow any county or municipal executive of a large or medium-sized county or city to apply for additional immigrant visas to support the region's economic development strategy, provided that employers in those regions certify that jobs are available, and that there are no workers to fill them. Holders of these visas would be required to work and reside in the city or county that applied for them, and would be subject to the same certification protections as other immigrants for employment.
9. Enforce rules to protect U.S. and foreign workers alike. Biden will work with Congress to ensure that employers do not take advantage of immigrant workers and that U.S. citizen workers are not undervalued by substandard employers. Biden will also work to ensure that employers have the proper tools to certify the employment status of their workers and will restore the focus on abusive employers rather than the vulnerable workers they are exploiting.
10. Expand protections for undocumented immigrants reporting labor violations. Biden will further extend these protections to victims of any violation of federal, state or local labor laws in the workplace by securing passage of the POWER Act. Biden will also ensure that workers on temporary visas are protected so that they can exercise the employment rights to which they are entitled.
11. Increase visas for survivors of domestic violence. Biden will end the backlog in processing VAWA self-petitions, U visas and T visas and provide victims with the security and certainty they need. Biden will also triple the current cap of 10,000 on U visas.
Will welcome immigrants into our communities
Under Biden's immigration plan, his administration will seek to:
1. Direct federal resources, through the reestablishment of the New Americans Task Force, to support community efforts to welcome immigrants.. The Biden Administration will seek to improve access to federal agencies and better support local initiatives, such as:
- Establish Offices of Immigrant Affairs in city halls, or at the county and state level, so that there are local government officials focused on making policies inclusive;
- Create neighborhood resource centers or welcome centers to help all residents find jobs; access English language learning services and opportunities; and navigate the school system, health care system, and other important facets of daily life;
- Support immigrant-led entrepreneurial incubators and provide resources to help access commercial loans, mentoring and capital;
- Promote state bilingual literacy seals to recognize high school graduates who speak multiple languages;
- Promote campaigns to help legal permanent residents naturalize;
- Facilitate state efforts to reduce barriers to licensing professional degrees and certifications from other countries;
- Increase immigrant representation on community boards;
- Ensure that all public schools have sufficient English language learning support to help all children reach their potential; and
- Invest in programs to connect immigrant professionals with others in their field or create cultural events and other programming to build social capital in immigrant communities.
2. Will push to repeal extreme anti-immigrant state laws that have a chilling effect on the ability of immigrants who are victims of domestic violence, survivors of sexual assault and other crime victims to seek safety and justice. Biden will work collaboratively with cities, states, non-profit organizations and law enforcement to build trust and pressure states to repeal laws that discourage reporting domestic violence incidents and threaten public safety.
3. It will extend overdue rights to agricultural and domestic workers.. Biden will support legislation, including the Farmworker Fairness Act and the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, that extends federal protections to farmworkers and domestic workers, ensuring that they also have the right to basic workplace protections and to organize and bargain collectively. Biden will also ensure that domestic workers have a voice in the workplace through a wage and standards board.
Reaffirms U.S. commitment to asylum seekers and refugees
Under Biden's immigration plan, his administration will seek to:
1. Increase the number of asylum officers to efficiently review recent border crossing cases and will maintain cases with positive credible fear findings in the Asylum Division..
2. Restore asylum eligibility for survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence whose governments of origin cannot or will not protect them.
3. Apply U.S. asylum laws to those fleeing political persecution..
4. Double the number of immigration judges, court staff and interpreters.. This is expected to help process more quickly the more than one million immigration cases currently pending.
5. Putting an end to for-profit detention centers. Biden will also ensure that facilities temporarily housing migrants seeking asylum meet the highest standards of care and prioritize the safety and dignity of families above all.
6. Increase the number of refugees to be welcomed in the country.. Biden will set the annual cap on global refugee admissions at 125,000, and will seek to increase it over time in accordance with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.
It will address the root causes of irregular migration.
According to Biden's immigration plan, his administration will adopt a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the security and prosperity of Central America in an alliance with the people of the region that:
1. Address the root causes of migration by promoting greater security, economic development and respect for the rule of law in Central America.. Biden will propose a four-year, $$4 billion assistance package for the region, with aid tied to the region's governments that offers measurable reductions in gang and gender-based violence, improvements in legal and educational systems, and implementation of anti-corruption measures, among other things. Biden will also seek support from international donors and regional partners.
2. Strengthen regional humanitarian responses and assist Central American countries and partners to process and support refugees and asylum seekers.
3. Manage migration through refugee resettlement and other legal programs.. Biden will update the Central American Minors program for certain children seeking to reunite with U.S. relatives, allowing them to apply for entry from their home countries; expand efforts to register and process refugees in the region for resettlement in the United States and other countries; and expand opportunities for individuals seeking temporary worker visas or another form of legal status for which they may qualify to be able to come to the country.
It will implement effective border screening
Under Biden's immigration plan, his administration will seek to:
1. Invest in better technology along with privacy protections at the border, both at and between ports of entry, including cameras, sensors, large-scale X-ray machines and fixed towers.. Biden will also invest significantly in upgrading aging infrastructure at all of our ports of entry.
2. Improve collaboration between federal agencies to combat transnational criminal organizations that traffic people, weapons and illegal narcotics..
3. Work with Mexico and Canada as partners, not adversaries.. Biden will build partnerships based on respect for our common interests and enhance our shared capabilities and information.