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Executive Orders on Immigration by President Biden

Published On: January 29, 2021

Biden's executive orders on immigration

President Biden wants to reform the immigration system

President Biden started his presidency with a slew of executive orders. There were 5 executive orders that were related to immigration. Let’s look at each order and how it affects you as an immigrant.

1. Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

The Trump administration partially blocked the DACA program back in July 2020 where only renewals were allowed till congress approved a different approach. But a judge ordered to fully restore the DACA program to process newly signing up DACA recipients in December.

Since then USCIS has been accepting new DACA recipients. Also, the validity of DACA and the employment authorization has been restored to the older validity of 2 years. The Executive order signed by Biden orders the attorney general of the secretary of homeland security to preserve and fortify DACA.

What does it mean for immigrants?

Although it doesn’t change much in the current process it allows the program to be more authoritative. Also on a side note, the Biden administration is working on a possible pathway to citizenship for immigrants.

For now, if you are applying for DACA for the first time or renewing your DACA you can go ahead and apply. You can also consider using our service to prepare your immigration form for DACA to avoid errors and to easily prepare your application.

2. Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians

The executive order gives employment authorization for Liberians through June 30 2022 who were granted DED as of January 10, 2021. USCIS will issue a federal register notice soon and provide an extension of the employment authorization. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 saw the introduction of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) provision.

The LRIF provision, with limited exceptions, makes Liberians who have been continuously present in the United States since November 20, 2014, as well as their spouses and children, eligible for adjustment of status to that of United States lawful permanent resident (LPR). The LRIF process was slow going and it took ages to process the adjustment of status applications. So the executive order to reinstate DED is to help ensure that eligible people can apply for adjustment of status.

What does it mean for immigrants?

Immigrants with DED as of January 10, 2021, will get Employment authorization extensions till June 2022. Currently, there is nothing required to be done to avail of this extension. For immigrants with DED status, you may apply for adjustment of status to get your permanent residency.

3. Termination Of Emergency With Respect To The Southern Border Of The United States And Redirection Of Funds Diverted To Border Wall Construction

This executive order stops the construction of the border wall and redirects the funds elsewhere. Even though the wall was built to curb illegal immigration it doesn’t affect legal immigration by any means.

What does it mean for immigrants?

This does not affect legal immigrants currently in the U.S.

4. Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities

On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order which prioritized the deportation of non-citizen immigrants who committed a crime, abused public benefits, were subjected to removal proceedings, and more.

This order saw an increase in deportations of non-citizens from within the U.S. in 2018 compared to 2017 of which the majority were convicted criminals. It also ordered a cut of federals grants to sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with the executive order. The federal grants cut to sanctuary cities was deemed unconstitutional by Judge William Orrick III, who issued a nationwide permanent injunction against its implementation. 

In 2020, 185,884 removals were done in spite of the pandemic. According to ICE the vast majority of ICE ERO’s interior removals – 92 percent – had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. Those removed included 4,276 known or suspected gang members, and 31 known or suspected terrorists.

The entire executive order signed by President Trump has now been revoked by the new executive order by President Biden. 

What does it mean for immigrants?

Deportations are still going to happen but they will happen in a way that is similar to the system in place prior to 2017.

5. Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States

President Trump issued an executive order banning the entry of people from certain countries in the middle east and African countries. This affected people with their visa requests where the visa was denied after the order and also stopped immigrants from entering the U.S. after the ban. This executive order has been overturned with the new executive order by President Biden. Within 45 days of this new executive order, the visa processing and waiver processing are planned to begin for the countries banned in the Trump era. 

However, a new travel ban has been ordered by President Biden on account of COVID-19. This travel Ban has been ordered for travelers from a few countries but it does not apply to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. For recent travel restrictions, check out the latest news.

What does it mean for immigrants?

People who were banned from entry into the United States could soon be eligible again to apply for a visa and immigrate to the U.S. Clear requirements are still not available so continue to check the latest notifications from USCIS if you were affected by the orders.

Even though it is not an executive order we want to mention that President Biden has also sent the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to congress which is a part of his plan to reform the U.S. immigration system. It is supposed to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, TPS recipients and also improve the employment-based immigration processes.

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