What a month! We bore witness to a violent insurgency on the Capitol, a second impeachment, and the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. President Trump impeded the transition, snubbed the inauguration, and left his successor with an array of crises. On immigration, Trump attempted to finalize a number of last-ditch policies, cementing his legacy as the most anti-immigrant president in modern times. But starting on January 20, the immigration initiatives emerging from the White House radically changed course: as promised, President Biden immediately sent an immigration bill that includes a path to citizenship for the undocumented to Congress and signed a host of consequential executive orders that begin the process of undoing four years of damage and redefining America’s approach to immigration. Here’s what you need to know about the early days of the Biden-Harris Administration’s immigration agenda.

Sanctuary: Design for Belonging Artwork by Raychelle Duazo (@bombchelle). Courtesy of Amplifier.
  • An avenue for DACA and TPS recipients and eligible farmworkers to immediately apply for permanent legal residency.
  • A $4 billion aid package to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that addresses the root causes of migration coupled with new systems that enable Central Americans to seek legal protection in the U.S. or partner countries from within their home countries.
  • Funding for smarter border management that leverages enhanced technology rather than growing the already massive force of militarized border patrol agents.
  • Improved technology and additional training for immigration judges to expedite cases and improve the court backlog.
  • Expanded access to family- and employment-based visas by raising or eliminating (respectively) the per-country visa caps, ending discrimination against LGBTQ+ families, and clearing existing backlogs.
  • Prohibiting discrimination based on religion and limiting presidential authority to unilaterally ban nationals from some countries and increasing the annual allotment of diversity visas from 55,000 to 80,000.
  1. Rescind the Muslim and African bans.
  2. Reinstate DACA in full.
  3. End the border wall construction by ending the national emergency that diverted federal funding to the construction effort.
  4. Ensure that all undocumented immigrants are included in census data used to reapportion congressional districts.
  5. Extend Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians until June 30, 2022.

Managing Director of Immigration at the Emerson Collective. Advocate for humanity, sports junky, 1/2-assed Buddhist, proud papa and spouse. Views obv my own.