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New Executive Orders
Every candidate for President makes promises about immigration during the election season and President Biden was no exception. While campaigning, he promised to make changes to immigration law within his first 100 days in office.
Just the Facts
On January 20, 2021, his first day in office, President Biden signed executive orders that will:
- Include noncitizens in the Census
- “Strengthen” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”)
- Reverse the passport restrictions for citizens of several countries known as the “Muslim Ban”
- Block the deportation of certain Liberian citizens living in the United States
- Stop the construction of the border wall
- Change ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) enforcement priorities for noncitizens within the United States.
Executive orders are immediately effective as law, but they can be overturned by each new president. The best way to create long-lasting law is through legislation, passing a bill through Congress.
President Biden announced that he will introduce a bill called the “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.” Unlike an executive order, this new bill is not automatically law – it will need to be approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This Act would be the first major change to immigration law in decades and would not be easily reversed like an executive order.
The proposed “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, if passed by Congress, would:
- Increase Diversity Visas (known as the “Lottery”) from 55,000 to 80,000 per year
- Allow individuals with an approved family-sponsorship petition to stay in the United States while waiting for Permanent Residency (a “green card”)
- Get rid of the deadline for applying for asylum so that there is no time limit for asylum applications
- Get rid of the 3-year bar and the 10-year bar, which bans noncitizens from the United States who have unlawfully (without a visa or other permission) lived in the United States for longer than 6 months
- Create a program to reunite Central American minors with their families, and
- Create a program for DACA holders, individuals with Temporary Protected Status, and agricultural workers with an H-2A visa to become United States citizens.
This bill is what would allow over 11 million people in the United States to become United States citizens. However, the bill needs to be approved by a majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in order to be law.
Immigration law is changing very quickly under this new administration; in just one day, President Biden has undone many policies put in place by the former Administration.
This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.
If you need help with an Immigration case, contact Hightower Reff Law today and call our Immigration hotline at 402-932-9116 for a free immigration consultation or come visit with one of the attorneys at the Omaha office.