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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.