Earlier this year, we highlighted some of President Biden’s executive orders on immigration. Since February 2nd, several other changes have taken place.
Although CNN offers a comprehensive overview of all of Biden's executive orders through the end of April, here's a brief overview of the actions that focus on immigration policy.
On February 4th, President Biden signed an executive order expanding the United States Refugee Admissions Program and overturned a Trump-era policy limiting the program. This E.O. also is intended to examine the impact of climate change on migration. On that same day, Biden issued a memo that focused on ensuring protection to asylum seekers and refugees who are LGBTQI. The end of February saw Biden rescinding a limit on legal immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, Biden reinstated a program—the Central American Minors program—which Trump had suspended. Although this was not announced via executive order, the action is noteworthy. Trump abruptly halted the program in 2017, leaving roughly 3,000 children in legal limbo. In June, the Departments of State and Homeland Security announced that they were expanding eligibility for the program.
April saw additional COVID-19 restrictions for those traveling from India, as well as an emergency presidential determination that returned to the prior practice of allocating refugee admissions regionally. Although the memo from April 16 did not adjust the 15,000 cap set by Trump, it did state that the cap would be revisited in May.
And in May, Biden announced the new cap—62,500—indicating that he wanted to raise the cap to 125,000 for F.Y. 2022.
The Spring Regulatory Agenda, published in June, indicates some of the ongoing priorities and goals of the Biden administration. The agenda includes changes to asylum policies, as well as formally regulating the DACA program, which is currently only a policy memorandum (2012). Also on the table is a new fee rule, waived in-person interview requirements during the pandemic, and more.
Although July has only just begun, on July 1, H.R. 4331 was introduced in Congress. Its goal is “To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize lawful permanent resident status for certain college graduates who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.” Although the text is not available yet, it will be a bill to watch.
As you can see, the Biden administration has been active on the immigration front. It's important, however, to understand that it will take time to implement these changes. If you are concerned that these changes may impact you or a loved one, reach out to me at 646-884-3319 or contact us online.