On November 3rd, many citizens arrived at voting polls in hopes to elect a new President for the United States. A new President for a lot of citizens and non-citizens alike meant changes to important policies. Policies on topics such as immigration, as immigrants make up about 14 percent of the U.S population. After a long and intense election period, on November 7th, the associated press called the presidential race.
With Joseph Biden becoming the new president-elect, many are ecstatic and hopeful for changes to come.
Brief overview of changes to immigration policies
In 2016, Donald Trump was elected President, and after his inauguration the following year, many policies saw a drastic change. President Trump’s immigration ideologies and policies harmed a lot of communities, and most notably the immigrant community. After being elected into office, his administration stopped the DAPA program and placed restrictions on the DACA program. The end of these programs affected a lot of individuals and left many more at risk of deportation. Throughout his presidency, the U.S immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) has made over 250,000 arrests of immigrants.
Immigrants arrested by ICE are either deported or held at detention centers unable to see their loved ones. Not only have ICE arrests increased during the Trump administration, but there have also been travel bans. Tristan Brown, an immigration and bankruptcy attorney in San Diego says,
“There is a huge backlog of immigrants at this time. I hope the Biden administration prioritizes appointing more immigration judges so that immigrants can have their cases heard in a timely manner.” It is apparent that change is needed which is what many are hoping for with a new President.
All these drastic changes to immigration policies from the Trump administration left many hopeless and hoping for better changes. With the new President-elect Joe Biden, many believe that these changes are closer than they were initially thought to be. San Diego bankruptcy attorney Tristan Brown shed light on why this is.
“President Trump used executive orders to create a number of roadblocks in immigration, he explains. “President-Elect Biden can reverse many of these executive orders with the stroke of a pen. I look forward to seeing what develops.”
When it comes to immigration policies, there are a number of details that are important to pay attention to. These details if overlooked by immigrants, can lead to deportation, of not just themselves but family members as well. It is an unfortunate reality a lot of people have to live with, but hopefully with Biden immigration policy, this will change. Until then, it is important to know these details, and the changes that are expected to ensue.
All the changes to the different immigration policies are definitely difficult to keep up with so consult an experienced immigration attorney. An immigration attorney will be able to better inform you specifically about each policy and how they affect you.
What is DACA?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals otherwise known as DACA is U.S immigration policy. This policy allows eligible individuals who entered the U.S. as children to receive a deferred action and work authorization. The time period for DACA is two years after which it can be renewed for another two years. Individuals applying for DACA had to be no more than 31 years old as of June 2012. Unfortunately, this particular requirement excluded some immigrants from taking advantage of this policy.
DACA was first signed into order by the Obama administration in 2012 and many immigrants were awarded DACA status. The ability to be exempt from deportation and obtain a work permit aided a lot of immigrants. Though, there is a long way to go for immigration policies, this was a big first step. Ever since its inception, DACA has seen a lot of pushback from politicians seeking to dwindle the immigrant population in the U.S. As such, after his inauguration, DACA was one of the policies affected by the Trump administration.
What is DAPA?
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents also known as DAPA is another immigration policy. This policy allows undocumented parents of U.S citizens or permanent residents to obtain a deferred action and work authorization. This policy differs from DACA in that it lasts 3 years but it is also renewable and places certain restrictions.
Fortunately for DAPA applicants, their children can be of any age and marital status.
DAPA was announced by the Obama administration 2 years after DACA’s inception and eligible individuals could apply 6 months after. DAPA also received pushback from the republican party and has seen changes since its start.
Recently, DACA has been reinstated, after being rescinded by the Trump administration. While this is good news, some fear that DACA’s future is not as bright as we are led to believe. Even though President-elect Joe Biden plans to reinstate DACA should it be rescinded again before his inauguration. They fear, with a majority republican supreme court, DACA will be rescinded again and for a longer time this round. Currently, DACA allows over 500,000 undocumented immigrants the ability to live and work in the U.S.
The DREAM Act which stands for Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act is a bill introduced in 2001. The DREAM act when passed would grant certain immigrants legal status. Specifically, it would grant legal status to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S as children who were schooled here. Since its introduction, the DREAM act failed to pass in the house of representatives for over 10 years. Recently, the DREAM act was passed by the house and was sent to the senate for a vote.
Unlike DACA which granted undocumented immigrants a work permit and protection from deportation; the DREAM act offers citizenship. While there are requirements per usual to this, the DREAM act would allow undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship. While the DREAM act isn’t a policy, it is a bill that would make a difference for the immigrant community. This bill if passed would be a very big win for the large immigrant population in the U.S.
DACA and DAPA Requirements
Both DACA and DAPA applicants are expected to meet certain requirements to successfully obtain them. One that they both have in common is to pass a background check. Certain felonies and/or misdemeanors will disqualify an applicant from obtaining their DACA or DAPA status. Given this, it is important to know whether you fully meet the requirements prior to applying.
Other DACA requirements include: applicants came to the United States prior to the age of 16. A continuous resident of the U.S. as well as a physical presence in the country at time of request .
Lastly, applicants should be either in school or at least a high school graduate/ GED holder. DACA and DAPA requirements share a lot of similarities, so be sure to double-check which specific one you qualify for.
To know whether you meet specific requirements for either DACA or DAPA, it is best to consult an experienced immigration attorney.
Biden’s plans for immigration reform
It is a known fact that immigration policies have always been a big debate in the United States. Every presidential candidate’s stance on immigration is always deeply analyzed and is often a determinant of their success. Typically, the republican candidate claims they will create more restrictive policies while the democratic candidate claims they will do opposite. This was the case for the 2016 presidential race when current President Trump promised that he would “build the wall.” His claims to build a wall between the U.S and Mexico sparked a lot of controversy and outrage.
Amidst that, were a lot of supporters who like Trump wanted to build the wall to restrict Mexican immigrants. After seeing how immigration policies have changed during his time in office, immigration once again was a major topic. San Diego bankruptcy attorney and immigration attorney Tristan Brown informs us, “Trump rescinded DACA back in 2017. As a result, millions of eligible parents faced deportation. Once he is in office, President-Elect Biden can bring DAPA back and protect these parents.”
Reinstating the DACA program
During his presidential campaign, President-elect Joseph Biden ran his campaign on reversing the damage caused by the Trump administration. More specifically, his administration promises to end Trump’s harmful asylum policies which severely restricts individuals from gaining U.S. asylum. His administration also promised to reverse the travel and refugee bans that barred Muslim people from entering the U.S. As mentioned before, he also ran his platform on reinstating the DACA program that was ended by the Trump administration. In addition, he promises to make America’s immigration system more modern, a task that is both vague and intriguing.
A modern immigration system
In their effort to modernize the American immigration system, the Biden administration will work on making citizenship more attainable for immigrants. They plan to create a roadmap that will allow immigrants to obtain legal status and eventually citizenship. As usual there will be certain requirements in place such as remaining up-to-date on taxes and passing a background check. They also plan to redesign the current visa program for temporary workers however this will only be in select industries. This redesign will enable workers the ability to change jobs when needed without having their visa revoked.
The Biden administration clearly has a deep agenda focused on immigration policy reform that many immigrants will be happy with. These policies are also expected to aid economic growth as the immigration population is a large part of that. As expected though, the republican party opposes these changes and do want to see them implemented. As such, pushback from the republican party is expected and will be obstacles in reaching these goals.
Already, Biden’s immigration policy has received pushback from the current administration about transitioning. Currently, the republican party has a majority seat in the senate which will definitely create obstacles for the Biden Administration. Should the Democratic party fail to obtain the majority vote in January, there will be pushback on the policies. While the Biden immigration policy will attempt to implement the changes that they ran on, it will not be smooth sailing. So it will be interesting to see how things play out in January and moving forward into the Biden administration.
Moving forward, it is important to take note of the changes to immigration and other important policies. For immigration, it is important to speak with an immigration attorney when these changes occur to understand their effects.
Insight into the differing views on immigration reform
Unlike the opposing side, Biden understands and acknowledges that immigrants have vastly contributed to the American economy. Immigrants make up 14 percent of the American population, which may seem small. However, when compared to the U.S population of 328 million, it is a large part of the population. Not only are there a lot of immigrants in the U.S., but they also make up a large part of the working class. The American labor system relies heavily on immigrants hence why it is important to change immigration policies and stop deportations.
Not only are immigrants in the U.S. important to the economy, non-U.S residing immigrants are as well. A lot of companies outsource their labor to different countries where labor costs are low to reduce their production costs and increase revenue. Immigration laws and policies also affect them and the economy as well. So the changes to these policies will definitely be important moving forward.
Biden Immigration Policy: Looking to the future.
While nothing is official, there is hope for the change to come as it pertains to immigration policies. Starting with the reinstatement of DACA, a program that benefited a lot of immigrants, hopefully similar changes will ensue. A lot of immigrants have spent the past four years under the Trump administration in fear. Not only have many loved ones been deported but many have also unfortunately died at the hands of ICE. It is definitely time for changes to be implemented to stop these deportations and arrests.
Reversing the damages done by the Trump administration will not be easy, but is a task that is very beneficial. Doing so will allow the immigrant community the safety and security that they have not known for a while. And should that not be enough of a reason for some, it will aid economic growth as well.