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Top Items on President-Elect Biden’s Immigration To-Do List in 2021

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to make several changes regarding U.S. immigration, many of which seek to reverse President Trump’s previous initiatives while in office. Specifically, Biden plans to: 

  • “Take urgent action to undo Trump’s damage and reclaim America’s values;”
  • “Modernize America’s immigration system;”
  • “Welcome immigrants in our communities;”
  • “Reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees;”
  • “Tackle the root causes of irregular migration;” and 
  • “Implement effective border screening.” 

To achieve these goals, the Biden Administration has outlined several initiatives to be completed and/or implemented within the first 100 days of office. Highlights of these initiatives include: 

Introduce legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in the U.S.

If passed, this legislation would create “a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.”

Reinstate & protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

Biden plans to remove uncertainty for DACA participants, who are known as “Dreamers,” by reinstating the DACA program and will “explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation.” He will also ensure that Dreamers are eligible for federal student aid and other educational support. 

Rescind “Muslim bans” put in place by the Trump Administration

Biden plans to rescind the travel and refugee bans, known as “Muslim bans,” within his first 100 days in office. The Biden Administration believes that the “anti-Muslim bias” behind these travel bans “hurts our economy, betrays our values, and can serve as a powerful terrorist recruiting tool,” and should therefore be eliminated. 

Reverse Trump’s Public Charge Rule

Biden also plans to reverse President Trump’s public charge rule, which ultimately expands the definition of “public charge,” making it more difficult for foreign nationals to show they will not be dependent on government benefits if allowed in the U.S. This rule therefore reduces the number of people who are eligible for green cards and other visas. 

Order an immediate review of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations

President Biden plans to order an immediate review of TPS for vulnerable populations who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster. TPS beneficiaries are not removable from the U.S., may obtain employment authorization, and may be granted travel authorization. Biden’s efforts are meant to combat the Trump Administrations prior decisions to rescind protected status for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing countries under dangerous conditions. 

Projected Outcome

The success of some of Biden’s plans will depend on Congress and whether or not both parties cooperate. Nevertheless, the Biden Administration is sure to incite several new changes and interpretations of U.S. immigration law and policy.

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