On Monday, May 31, The New York Times shared it had obtained a 46-page draft blueprint, “D.H.S. Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System,” that outlines the Biden administration’s agenda to expand the legal immigration system, make the process easier overall, and undo many of former President Trump’s efforts.
Erickson Immigration Group has not seen a copy of the referenced draft documents, dated May 3. We will continue to follow this story and update as more information is available. In the meantime, reports from the New York Times suggest that “if President Biden gets his way, it will soon be far easier to immigrate to the United States.”
Outcomes of the Biden blueprint include policies that would enable more foreign nationals to move to the United States, including high-skilled workers and agricultural workers, family members of Americans living abroad, as well as humanitarian-related cases, trafficking victims, asylees, and refugees.
Other changes in the draft document include fast-tracking applications with electronic filing, virtual interviews, and limiting the requests for evidence. According to the NYT, “Mr. Biden wants to restore opportunities for foreign employees through the existing H-1B visa program. The administration also intends to create new pathways for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to ‘start-up businesses and create jobs for U.S. workers.'”
The blueprint also would create opportunities for marginalized and persecuted people, including victims of domestic violence and LGBTQ refugees, and revamp the U-Visa program, which offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants willing to help law enforcement.
According to the NYT, most of the changes could go into effect even without Congress passing Biden’s immigration legislation, the cornerstone of which is a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people already living in the US. The Biden administration could take advantage of emergency rules, and presidential memos, much like President Trump did, to achieve his agenda.
Currently, the White House has not provided an official comment on the DHS blueprint but did say that this type of document goes through many drafts and rounds of revisions.
Whatever the final draft of President Biden’s legal immigration blueprint includes, it will likely face a sharply divided Congress and scrutiny from immigration opponents concerning rebuilding the American economy with American workers. A central element of the blueprint is addressing backlogs in the immigration system.
Generally, applicants for all visa types face waiting periods and backlogs of varying durations. The backlog period grew significantly during the Trump administration.
On the campaign trail, candidate Joe Biden criticized President Trump’s immigration policies and committed to undoing them. On day 1 as President, Biden signed the Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities, and 12 days later, on February 2, 2021, he signed the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. Both of these have underscored the administration’s commitment to reviewing, revoking, and revising current immigration processes and policies.
|Erickson Immigration Group will continue to send updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.|