Just over a month into his term, President Joe Biden is still working to undo many of the harsh immigration policies of the previous administration. Although some critics may say he is not acting quickly enough on some of the needed changes, there are changes on the way that could help immigrants in Pennsylvania.
Many of the changes are coming in the form of executive orders. Compared to passing legislation through both houses of Congress, it is relatively easy for a president to make big changes in immigration this way. Executive orders can go into effect almost immediately and so they can make a big difference in people’s lives very quickly.
However, executive orders can also be easily revoked by a later president. Indeed, the Trump administration used executive orders to make many of its biggest changes in immigration law. The Biden administration is now erasing many of those changes and making new changes of its own.
Changes for Pennsylvania
Some of the biggest changes the Biden administration is making involve an overhaul of the policies that led to the separation of families at the Mexican border. This includes ending the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocol, better known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
Under this program, many people trying to migrate to the United States through Mexico were forced to stay for months on the Mexican side of the border while they waited for a hearing that might let them into the United States.
Under the program, other migrants who were waiting for a hearing were brought into the United States, where many families have been separated and housed in separate facilities. Many young people held under the program have been staying for months in Pennsylvania youth shelters.
Immigrants and benefits
Another important change involves the Trump administration’s so-called public charge rule, which could disqualify immigrants for naturalization if they required public assistance. Under that program, thousands of immigrants in Pennsylvania have had to choose whether to give up their benefits or their chances for naturalization. Ending this policy should help make things easier for these Pennsylvania residents.
Immigration policies can change quickly. People who need help with family or work related immigration can speak to a skilled immigration attorney about the latest developments and their legal options.