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How Biden administration will change immigration

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 @ 8:20 AM | By Rosanna Berardi

Rosanna Berardi  %>
Rosanna Berardi
It may have taken half the week to get there, but the dust has settled and the U.S. has elected Joseph Biden to take Donald Trump’s place in January. Biden has his work cut out for him when it comes to immigration reform. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration over the course of four years in office. We saw nearly 400 miles of border wall constructed between the U.S. and Mexico, a travel freeze due to COVID-19, and a number of new visa restrictions aimed at Trump’s “Hire American” initiative to save U.S. jobs for unemployed Americans.

Specifically, Canadians saw the border between the U.S. and Canada closed due to rising COVID numbers, although essential trade and commerce have continued. But even before the pandemic, Canadians were affected by Trump’s immigration policies. Although the Canadian workforce is much smaller, Canada welcomes over double the skilled workers to its economy every year. As the number of available visas has shrunk over the past five years, Canada has reaped the benefits by attracting more talent.

Here’s how we can expect a Biden administration to change U.S. immigration policies:

  • Biden will take a more humane approach. Although immigration was not central to the 2020 race, Biden has promised to reverse Trump’s “cruel, anti-American” agenda through reuniting children with the parents who have been separated at the border and reversing Muslim travel bans. As part of this, Biden would immediately release a 100-day ban on deportations and send additional support to the border to police the current situation, with a special focus on the current policy’s “racial underpinnings,” to identify and address the systematic racism that has occurred under the Trump administration. In addition, Biden has plans to hold U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accountable for inhumane treatment.
  • Biden plans to seek new legislation from Congress. Biden has said that he immediately plans to modernize the infrastructure of the system and send legislation to Congress to pave a clear path for citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people currently residing in America. This is significant in that no standing president can truly change immigration. Trump has tried, by issuing executive orders to make changes to Congress, but those will be easy for Biden to repeal. Real lasting change needs to come from Congress.
  • Biden will reverse actions against providing asylum and legal protection of immigrants. Biden has vowed to reinstate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on his first day in office and raise the cap on the number of refugees to 125,000 per year, a number that is even higher than what Barack Obama set. Under Trump, only 18,000 were allowed in each year.

During Trump’s time in the Oval Office, he launched a war on legal immigration, and his policies were almost the exact opposite of what we can expect from Biden who has said, “I believe in the United States of America, an America that is strengthened by its diversity, proud of our heritage as a nation of immigrants, and where families belong together. Those are the values that shape my immigration policy.”

A lot will change for the U.S., but not as much will change on the Canadian side of the border. As long as COVID-19 continues to ravage America, the borders will stay closed. And while Canada has enjoyed an advantage over the U.S. in attracting talent to its workforce, that is unlikely to change immediately as it will take some time for the American borders to reopen overall.

Rosanna Berardi is the managing partner of Berardi Immigration Law and the CEO of High Wire Woman, where she helps working women create a blueprint to live their lives in a simpler way and take back their most precious commodity: their time.

Photo credit / masterSergeant ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

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