WASHINGTON – If President Biden gets his way, it will soon be a lot easier to immigrate to the United States. There will be shorter, simpler forms and applicants will have to go through fewer security loopholes. Foreigners will have better opportunities to follow their families and more chances of getting work visas.
A 46-page draft draft received by the New York Times outlines the Biden administration’s plans to significantly expand the legal immigration system, including methodologically reversing former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to reduce it, the influx of foreign labor reduced. Families and refugees and erected procedural barriers that are more difficult to overcome than his “big, beautiful wall”.
Due to Mr. Trump’s immigration policy, the average time it takes to approve employer-sponsored green cards has doubled. The backlog in applications for citizenship has increased by 80 percent since 2014 to more than 900,000 cases. Approval for the U-Visa program, which gives immigrants willing to be police officers legal status, has increased from five months to around five years.
In almost all cases, immigration to the United States has become more difficult, more expensive, and takes longer over the past four years.
And while Mr Biden made it clear during his presidential campaign that he wanted to undo much of his predecessor’s immigration legacy, the draft offers new details on how far-reaching the effort will be – not only to reverse Mr Trump’s policies, but to clean up residue and Delays afflicting previous presidents.
The blueprint dated May 3, entitled “D.H.S. Plan to Restore Confidence in Our Legal Immigration System “lists dozen of initiatives to reopen the country to more immigrants, delivering on the president’s promise to ensure America maintains its” character as a nation of opportunity and welcome. ” accepts.
“Significant changes need to be made to truly open all avenues for legal immigration,” said Felicia Escobar Carrillo, chief of staff for the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, of efforts to reverse Mr Trump’s agenda. “Just as they took a broad approach to closing off avenues, I think we want to take a broad approach to opening up the legal avenues that have always been available but have tried to build roadblocks.”
Since taking office four months ago, Mr Biden has grappled with a historic spike in the migration of Central American children and adolescents, which has led some Republicans to accuse the president of opening the country’s borders to people trying to illegally enter the country Entering the country, the White House rejects an indictment.
In fact, Mr. Biden wants to open the country to more immigrants. His ambition, as reflected in the blueprint, is to rebuild and expand the opportunities for foreigners to enter the United States – but in a legal manner.
Divided into seven sections, the document offers detailed policy proposals that would help more foreigners move to the United States, including highly skilled workers, victims of human trafficking, the families of overseas Americans, Canadian-born Indians, refugees, asylum seekers, and farm workers . Immigrants applying online could pay fewer fees or even obtain an exemption in an attempt to break down barriers to immigration. And the rules would be revised to “encourage the full participation of immigrants in our civil life”.
Even with a more restrictive and slower immigration system, around 1 million people were granted green cards in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic. Most had been waiting for this for years. In the last year of the Obama administration, 1.2 million people received green cards.
But by the time Mr Biden achieves anything in the document, he will have gone further than just reversing the downward trend. He will have greatly improved the opportunities for foreigners around the world to come to the United States and welcome robust immigration even as decades of political debate continue to rage on such policies.
Most of the changes could be put into practice without passing Mr Biden’s proposed overhaul of the country’s immigration laws, which would open avenues to citizenship for millions of undocumented people living in the United States, but at a bitterly divided Congress has stalled. While polls show that most Americans support increased immigration, many Republican voters have zealously supported Mr Trump’s more restrictive policies.
White House officials declined to comment directly on the Department of Homeland Security’s draft, saying that such documents go through many drafts and that decisions about certain steps to combat legal immigration remain in flux. However, they said the president remains determined to significantly reduce the restrictions imposed by his predecessor.
These efforts will take time and have not yet drawn public attention like the spate of crossings on the southwest border. But conservative activists, who have been calling for lower levels of legal immigration for years, vow a fight to stop Mr Biden and obtain a political price for his actions.
“They just want to shovel people in here,” said Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a former Virginia attorney general who served as acting head of citizenship and immigration under Mr. Trump. “They do not operate an immigration system for the benefit of America, and certainly not for the benefit of ordinary Americans. ”
Most research has shown that legal immigration to the United States has benefits for the country’s economy, especially at a time when the country’s population growth is slowing. However, Mr Cuccinelli and others who are in favor of tough immigration restrictions say it is obvious to them that allowing foreigners to compete for jobs will hurt the prospects for Americans – especially if the country is still emerging from an economic downturn like this the pandemic is recovering citizens.
“The main job of immigration authorities is to make sure that immigration does not harm Americans,” said Roy Beck, founder of NumbersUSA, a group that advocates far less legal immigration.
Motivated by that belief, Mr. Cuccinelli initiated a transformation of the government’s legal immigration system during the Trump administration – by moving his agency from one that benefits foreigners to one “Verification Body” partly through numerous restrictions on asylum for immigrants and attempts to collect fees.
The increased checks, as well as the travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic, contributed to the outcome sought by the Trump administration: the influx of immigrants slowed significantly as it became much more difficult to obtain legal permission to enter the United States.
With fewer immigrants coming through the pipeline, there has been less money to fund citizenship and immigration services, which are almost entirely funded by the fees paid by immigrants. According to the document and interviews with administrators, restoring the agency to full capacity is at the heart of Mr Biden’s efforts to expand legal immigration.
A central element of the blueprint is the removal of residues in the immigration system.
The administration plans to expedite immigration applications by expanding virtual interviews and electronic submissions, as well as restricting applicants’ requests for evidence. Mr. Biden has hired Cass R. Sunstein, a former Obama administration official and a legal scholar at Harvard Law School, to transform the immigration system to be “more effective and less burdensome” than it has been for decades by “reducing paperwork and others” administrative requirements. “
Mr. Biden wants to restore opportunities for foreign workers through the existing H-1B visa program, which is intended for workers with special skills. The government also intends to create new avenues for foreign entrepreneurs who want to “start businesses and create jobs for US workers,” the document says.
Officials are working on a scheme that could allow migrants to obtain asylum in the US if they are victims of domestic violence or if their loved ones have been persecuted. During the Trump era, Attorney General William P. Barr called for asylum protection to be ended for those who claimed they deserved it for these reasons.
Mr. Biden also seeks to expand immigration opportunities for L.G.B.T.Q. Refugees from countries where they are persecuted or where same-sex marriages are not recognized.
In addition, he wants to revise a program that opens the way to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who cooperate with the police or testify in court.
The waiting list for the U Visa program has skyrocketed, making crime victims and domestic violence survivors vulnerable to abusers who may face threats to report them for deportation if they continue to speak to police, Leslye E. Orloff said , Director of the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project at American University.
The Biden government is considering extending protection to immigrants who cooperate before they even make it onto the official visa waiting list, the document says.
“They realize that these victims are at risk,” Ms. Orloff said.
Critics say the Biden government is ignoring the negative effects of its efforts. The H-1B program has been attacked as a loophole for technology companies to import cheap foreign labor to compete for jobs. Granting asylum to victims of domestic violence could open the door to accepting millions of additional people. And some Republicans say Mr Biden shouldn’t relax scrutiny of foreigners, despite officials insisting they continue to search for terrorists and other threats.
As the Biden administration pushes the changes, officials appear ready to use emergency rules and presidential memos to avoid the lengthy regulatory process, much like Trump set his own agenda. But that could result in Mr Biden’s immigration legacy being similarly undone by a Republican president in the future.
“The question that arises with all this work is how do you do it so that it doesn’t capsize so easily next time,” said Doug Rand, founder of Boundless Immigration, a Seattle technology company that helps immigrants to be environmentally friendly to become cards and citizenship.
For Jenn Hawk, 37, who currently lives with her Argentine husband in Poland, where he works, the change might not come soon enough, even though her autistic son is near Washington with his father.
Due to delays in processing her husband’s immigration application, she is faced with a choice: stay in Poland with the man she married or go to the US alone to be with her 10-year-old son.
Ms. Hawk applied for her husband’s immigration grant to the United States in October 2020 and spent $ 575 on the application. But they are struggling with a delay of more than a year and a half before they can even submit their financial and medical information, let alone an interview with an immigration officer.
“I just want to go home,” said Ms. Hawk. “It seems like they are doing everything in their power to limit the possibility.”