Biden’s compassionate immigration platform

IMMIGRATION CORNER - Michael J. Gurfinkel (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2020 - 12:00am

Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. He promises a radical change from Trump’s strict enforcement policies to a policy emphasizing compassion, leniency and possibly even amnesty, as spelled out in the Democrat party’s platform. As stated on their website, “Immigrants are essential to our society and our economy. Immigrants are part of our families. They enrich our culture. They grow our food, care for our loved ones, serve in our Armed Forces and provide critical healthcare services. Immigrants make America stronger.”

Among the highlights of their planned changes to US immigration policy are:

• End funding and construction of the southern border wall.

• End the Muslim travel ban.

• End Trump’s immigration ban, where he had put a freeze on green cards for new immigrants who were applying from abroad.

• Reinstate, expand and streamline protection for Dreamers (DACA) and the parents of American citizen children (DAPA) to keep families together in the US.

• Provide a “roadmap to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers, caregivers, students and children who are an essential part of our economy and the fabric of our nation.” (Amnesty?).

• Halt enforcement and rescind Trump’s “immigration wealth test,” or Trump’s new, strict public charge regulations.

• Fast-track legalization for essential workers to the pandemic, including healthcare workers and others.

• Reduce application backlogs and waiting times, and make our immigration processes faster, more efficient and less costly, eliminating “unfair barriers to naturalization.”

• Reaffirm America’s commitment to family-based immigration by reversing Trump’s decision to slash family-based immigration (Trump had wanted a merit-based system and to reduce visas for family members).

• Treat spouses and children of green card holders (F-2A) the same as “immediate relatives” (spouse and children of US citizens), meaning spouses and children of immigrants would be immediately eligible for green cards and possibly can apply for green cards in the US if out of status, thereby ending their unfair separation.

• Eliminate family-based green card backlogs and reform the system to speed up family-based visas. (Could categories such as married children of US citizens and brothers and sisters of US citizens now be faster? People may want to hurry and file those petitions!)

• End the 3/10 year bar (so that perhaps a provisional waiver would no longer be needed?).

• End workplace and community raids, as well as protecting immigrants at sensitive locations like schools, houses of worship, hospitals and DMV from immigration raids.

• Bring back “prosecutorial discretion” for deserving cases, where the government will no longer go after people who really do not pose a threat to society and instead go after felons, terrorists and other bad people.

Let us hope Biden will follow through with these proposals and ensure laws are enacted for the benefit of the millions of undocumented immigrants. If there will be changes in the law, and you believe you could benefit, I would strongly advise that you consult with an immigration attorney and have the immigration attorney assist you in applying for those benefits. Even with a pro-immigration administration, there are still many requirements to be met, and hiring an attorney could greatly increase your chances of success in achieving your American dream.



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