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Over the last four years the U.S. immigration policy has been through many drastic changes. The Trump Administration from the beginning promised significant reforms with an overarching theme of one its seminal Executive Orders of 2017 – Buy American Hire American.

Business immigration practitioners and employers that rely on their guidance have experienced significant upheavals in the way non-immigrant and immigrant visa processes are administered. There has been a sea of changes driven by proposed legislation to focus on Merit-Based Immigration to Executive Actions rolling back current programs and policies to protect the U.S. economy and U.S. workers, especially during a pandemic.

What would a new Administration led by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do to change the current state of play?

Experience with the Obama/Biden Administration and a review of the stated immigration plans of the Biden/Harris campaign indicate that we might see the following:

Executive Actions

  • Reversal of Travel Ban Proclamations banning entry from those present in the Schengen area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, Iran, and China
  • Reversal of the Ban on the Issuance of Immigrant Visas and Non-immigrant L-1 and H-1 Visas
  • Reversal of the Ban on Certain Students from China
  • Reinstatement of the DACA Program
  • New TPS Designations
  • Review of Interim Final and Proposed Rules impacting the H-1B and PERM programs
  • Withdrawal of Guidance Memorandums on Respecting Precedent in Adjudication of USCIS cases
  • Review of F-1 and J-1 proposed rules on Duration of Status
  • Additional Funding for USCIS/DOL/DHS
  • EB-5 Reform – Nullifying the EB-5 Rule and pushing for legislative reform
  • Withdrawal of Public Charge Attestations from those seeking certain Immigration Benefits

Litigation

  • In-depth review of current cases challenging immigration rules and the position of DHS/USCIS/DOJ

Legislation

  • Attempts to Pass HR 6 providing relief to DACA and TPS beneficiaries
  • A push to pass the Elimination of Per Country Quotas – The Fairness in High Skilled Immigration Act
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform to include Reform of the NIV and IV Systems
  • EB-5 Reform – Nullifying the EB-5 Rule and pushing for legislative reform

While Inauguration Day isn’t until Jan. 20, 2021, and there is a lot to be sorted out between now and then, it is safe to say that a Biden Harris Administration would handle business immigration policy in a dramatically different way.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.

Admitted in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.