Hello everyone. The past week has been quite exciting and profound. Vice President Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have been elected to be President and Vice President of the United States. While the current occupant of the White House grumbles, complains and launches legal challenges as to the result, I am of the opinion it is inevitable that Mr. Biden will formally become President of the United States in January of 2021 and Ms. Harris will formally become Vice President of the United States in January 2021. We the people of the Caribbean are, of course, very proud of Ms. Harris who has Jamaican roots via her father. In this piece, I will speculate as to how a Biden presidency might impact US immigration law.
First, I am of the opinion that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will stop conducting targeted roundups of individuals who do not have criminal records and that their only sin so to speak is that they are unlawfully present in the United States. I believe that a Biden administration will return to the rational policy instituted by the Obama administration of only targeting those individuals who are either convicted criminals or true dangers to the community and people in the United States. The raids by ICE, under the Trump administration, have not only scared the immigrant community but have also upset reasonable people who are citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) of the United States who question the use of law enforcement resources in such a fashion.
The dreaded new public charge rule promulgated by the Trump administration, will be eliminated. On November 2, 2020, in the case of Cook County, Illinois, an Illinois governmental entity, and Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Inc., (Plaintiffs) vs. Chad F. Wolf, in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al. (Defendants); Case Number 19 C 6334, in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, presiding Judge Gary Feinerman, vacated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) final rule inadmissibility on public charge grounds, 84 Fed. Reg. 41, 292 (August 14, 2019). Judge Feinerman found (1) the Rule exceeded DHS’s authority under the public charge provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); (2) is not in accordance with law; and (3) is arbitrary and capricious. Judge Feinerman had vacated the Rule and ruled that vacating of the Rule was to be nationwide. DHS in a desperate last-minute attempt did obtain a two-week stay from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal. However, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal had previously ruled that the preliminary injunction entered by Judge Feinerman was valid and affirmed the preliminary injunction entered by Judge Feinerman.
It is my view that the Biden administration will not contest Judge Feinerman’s ruling nor the ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal. This is will effectively render the rule invalid. This could be a big victory for immigrants and immigrant rights.
I believe there will also be a change in a Biden administration as to who will be placed in removal proceedings. Currently, the Trump administration policy, is to put any and everyone into removal proceedings. Even those individuals who might have had a conviction for possession of a very small amount of marijuana. I believe a Biden administration will be more particular about which individuals are placed into removal proceedings. Those individuals who have a serious conviction or convictions and pose a clear and present danger to the United States, will be placed removal proceedings. Other individuals who have immigration violations will placed into removal proceedings on a case by case basis with seasoned officers and bureaucrats making reasonable decisions rather than simply putting any and everyone into removal proceedings.
As to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), I believe that a Biden administration will be very favorable to working diligently with Congress to find a solution and provide for LPR status for those individuals who qualify for DACA status. It is high time that those individuals that came to the United States as children or at a very young age, and who had no control over the circumstances that caused them to be in the United States be afforded an opportunity to have legal status in the United States. Moreover, a large number of those individuals are bright, young, talented minds that will be of great benefit to American society and the American economy.
As to the new restrictive and hard asylum policies currently in effect as promulgated by the Trump administration, I unfortunately do not think the Biden administration will immediately take action to change the current policy. The reason being that any meaningful change could result in a flood of refugees to the United States which would create political problems for a Biden administration.
As to lifting the ban on the issuance of immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas I believe the Biden administration will do so as soon as possible. It is my view that a Trump re-election would have resulted in the Trump administration trying to extend the ban on issuing immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas on sketchy grounds. On the one hand the current administration’s position is that the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the corner and is not a serious danger to the US. Yet, the administration does not want to issue immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas based on Covid-19 grounds. That is not logical.
If you have any questions on US immigration law or need representation anywhere in the United States on an immigration matter, I would be happy to represent you. You may contact me as follows: via telephone at (305) 648 3909 or via e-mail at [email protected]. Until next time, walk good.
About the Author
Oliver J. Langstadt is a Jamaican American attorney admitted to practice law in the state of Florida. He was raised in St. Mary Jamaica, near Highgate. He completed his high school education at the Priory School in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended the University of Miami School of Law and graduated with his law degree in 1985. He has been practicing law and immigration law for over twenty-five years. He is well-seasoned in all aspects of immigration law, including family petitions, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, business visas, investor visas, waivers from removal and unlawful presence, naturalization applications, and removal defense. He may be contacted at 305 648 3909 or via e-mail, at [email protected] He welcomes the chance to be of service regarding your US immigration cases and matters.
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