Given the stark differences between the outgoing presidential administration and the incoming one regarding their perspectives on immigration, a lot of people have high hopes that President-Elect Joe Biden will undo a lot of the changes made to the system in the previous four years.
Will they get their wish? Maybe.
It may take a long time for changes to immigration policy to make a difference
More than 400 changes have been made to immigration policy during the last presidential term. While the President-Elect has promised to take executive action to undo some of those changes immediately following his swearing-in ceremony, the reality is that the system itself is convoluted and, advocates posit, broken in ways that can’t be so easily fixed.
What’s almost certain to change right away is that there will be a halt to the erection of barrier walls on the nation’s southern border and a reversal of the ban against immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries. He’s also likely to take steps to further protect people who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) umbrella, and has pledged to pause deportations for 100 days.
Other changes, however, are going to take time. While there are plans to dramatically raise the number of refugee admissions and process more asylum cases, the institutional changes necessary to make that happen cannot be accomplished overnight. In particular, advocacy groups would like to see changes that will give the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants who are quietly living, working and raising families in this country a real path to citizenship — and that cannot be done by the President alone.
Don’t wait to see what happens: Take action to protect your interests
Immigration policy is shaped largely by politics, so a change in the federal government always has the potential to shake things up for immigrants who hope to either come to the United States or stay here. If you’re an immigrant with a legal issue that needs to be addressed, don’t wait to see what happens. You need experienced guidance through a system that’s constantly in flux.