Today, on “Immigration Day,” the Biden administration issued a series of executive orders relating to its major immigration policy priorities, including: (1) revising the “public charge rule,” (2) rebuilding faith in the legal immigration system, (3) implementing a humane migration and asylum system, and (4) creating a task force to reunite migrant children who were separated from their families under the Trump administration. In remarks made at the signing ceremony, President Biden stated that he is “not making new law” but unraveling prior administration policies. Revising the Public Charge Rule
President Biden asked the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State, the Attorney General, the and other relevant agency officials to conduct a review of all actions related to the Public Charge Rule. This rule, published by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) on August 14, 2019, allowed immigration officials to deny visa applications of foreign nationals likely to receive or require public benefits from the U.S. government. For example, foreign nationals were required to fill out extensive new forms with information on their personal income, assets, and employment before they could apply for permanent resident status.
This effort to review and ultimately rescind the Public Charge Rule suggests that the Biden administration will reduce certain requirements that have made visa and green card sponsorship more challenging for employers who sponsor foreign nationals for employment—not to mention make those processes more efficient.
Restoring Faith in the Legal Immigration System
As part of an ongoing effort to restore faith in the country’s legal immigration system, President Biden established a Task Force on New Americans, charged with coordinating the government’s efforts to welcome and support immigrants, including refugees, to the United States. The task force will conduct a review of Trump administration immigration policies that established barriers to the legal immigration system. The task force’s mandate is broad in nature and likely includes several policies that have impeded employers’ ability to secure work authorization and permanent residency for their employees, including, for example, de novo review of visa petitions where companies extend their employees’ work authorization, as well as citizenship applications for eligible permanent residents.
Reuniting Separated Families
As part of an ongoing effort to reverse Trump immigration policies that separated thousands of families at the southern border, the Biden administration announced that it is revoking the Trump administration rule justifying the family separation policy. Additionally the Administration ordered the creation of a task force to work across the U.S. government and with key stakeholders and impacted families to reunite separated children with their parents. The task force will report directly to the President and will develop guidelines to prevent the future separation of families in addition to reuniting those who were separated.
Addressing the Root Causes of Irregular Migration
President Biden also called on executive departments and agencies to develop official strategies to address the root causes of migration and to manage, collaboratively, migration in the region. The strategies will seek to confront the violence, instability, and corruption that drives migrants from their homes, while also finding ways to collaborate with foreign governments and organizations to help other countries provide protection for asylum seekers and migrants closer to home.
We will continue to monitor the status of agency reviews as mandated by the Executive Orders and provide updates on their impact on employers.