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Immigration Changes in 2021

Jan. 27, 2021

The inauguration of Joseph R. Biden on January 20, 2021 brought a change in administration in the United States. The Trump administration had spent their four years making substantive changes to immigration laws on a nearly weekly basis. During his tenure as President Donald Trump instituted at least four hundred substantive changes to immigration policy and procedures – a rate of nearly two per week. The actions of the administration created problems for immigrants, their families, their attorneys, and the government. The number of cases at the immigration court in backlog tripled during the Trump administration – despite stating he would do more to remove immigrants from the United States, Trump deported far fewer people than previous administrations. Decisions made by the administration hamstrung judges, prosecutors, and immigrant’s counsel, leading to problems for all involved. Actions such as family separation, MPP, and third country asylum rules were controversial, but more importantly, they did not do anything but make the situation worse.

Joseph Biden enters the White House faced with myriad issues of the utmost importance. COVID-19 and the Economic impacts of COVID are front and center as two essential issues to be tackled. However, the Biden administration has already aimed to undo and clarify issues clouded by the Trump administration in the area of immigration. Nevertheless, the administration faces problems caused by late term actions by the former administration that seek to slow down the process of answering the immigration questions of our country. Already, lawsuits have been filed challenging actions by President Biden on issues like a moratorium on removal of aliens (deportation). The Biden administration wanted time to evaluate the circumstances of those being removed in a considerate manner. States have already filed suit to challenge his actions.

Why is this important – because yet again, it shows that executive actions are controversial because they skirt around the legislature. The Constitution says that Congress should make the laws regarding immigration. The President should not make law – he should enforce it. The problem that exists is the gridlock in Washington – without a bipartisan act on immigration, there is no chance that laws can get passed.

President Biden has put forth a sweeping immigration reform bill that has garnered a lot of attention since January 20. It would provide protections to DACA Dreamers and provide a pathway to citizenship for many millions of undocumented and overstay aliens. The law would strengthen controls at the borders of the United States and ramp up enforcement of our laws. It is a wonderful concept, but whether it will ever be passed is a different question.

Policy will be changing rapidly around immigration over the next weeks and months. It is essential to find a lawyer who can allow you to understand what is happening and how it will affect you. William Quirk can be that person for you – he is constantly monitoring the situation in Washington and can give you the most up-to-date information when you call to inquire with his office.