U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to undo many of Trump administration’s restrictive immigration policies starting from the first day he takes office on January 20.
Here are several of the reforms that the president-elect has already announced that he will get to work on immediately:
Travel and visa bans
Biden has promised to immediately roll back the travel bans, which were issued by Trump’s executive actions in 2017 and could be easily undone, according to policy experts.
During the coronavirus pandemic too, Trump had issued proclamations blocking the entry of many temporary foreign workers and applicants for green cards. While Biden has criticized the restrictions, he has not yet said whether he would immediately reverse them.
Reforms for ‘dreamers’
Biden, has said that he will create permanent protection for young migrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, “Dreamers.” Started by former President Barack Obama, the program currently provides deportation protection and other benefits to approximately 645,000 people.
Biden’s transition team has promised to immediately create a federal task force to reunify children separated from their parents under one of the Trump administration’s most controversial policies.
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris said in an interview with Univision on January 12 that the administration planned to shorten citizenship wait times and allow DACA holders, as well as recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), to “automatically get green cards,” but did not explicitly say when or how these changes would happen.
Asylum and refugees
As per the current rules put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control during the coronavirus pandemic, most migrants arriving at the border are now immediately expelled. Biden’s team has not pledged to reverse that policy right away.
Migrant caravans have been on the move in Central America, with some aiming to arrive at the southwest border after Biden’s inauguration. Advocates worry that the pandemic will make it difficult for border officials and migrant shelters to handle large numbers of people.
Biden has also said he would raise the cap for refugees resettled in the United States from abroad to 125,000 from the historic low-level of 15,000 set by Trump this year.
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