For the past several years we have been publishing articles with the intent of keeping the Immigration Community fully informed. However, for most of these articles, we have had to be the bearer of bad news. Under the Trump administration, every change or measure was an attempt to restrict Immigration in some way, shape, or form. Under the Biden administration, we are already seeing positive changes and are excited to see what the next four years will bring. At PLG we strive to help both individuals and businesses achieve their immigration goals and under the new administration, we expect to see further changes that should open doors to new opportunities.
Some of the key positive changes so far include the following:
Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security
Mayorkas is the first Immigrant and first Latino to lead the Department and marks a significant change in leadership, which should hopefully see DHS following the applicable Immigration laws, resulting in fairer and more favorable adjudications. Mayorkas will lead a task force with the primary objective of reuniting families.
Revocation of “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order
Since early 2017 Trump has pushed his “Buy American and Hire American,” (“BAHA”) Agenda and has done everything in his power to try and restrict Immigration. Biden’s “Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers,” Executive Order is aimed at ensuring wherever possible that goods, products and materials are made in America. The main difference between Biden’s executive order and Trump’s is that Biden is focused on promoting “Buy American” not “Hire American.” As most Immigration policies stemmed from Trump’s BAHA Executive Order, the revocation of this has far-reaching impacts, which will be seen over the coming months/years.
Withdrawal of the proposed rule to revoke H-4 EADs
The uncertainty surrounding the H-4 EAD has left many families feeling unsettled for too long. Losing the ability to work can have a devastating impact on a family’s ability to financially support themselves. The withdrawal of the proposed rule to revoke H-4 EADs is a welcomed change and is hopefully a sign of better things to come.
SEVP no longer moving forward with a new unit to oversee OPT compliance
On Jan 13 SEVP announced that it was setting up a new unit to oversee compliance in the OPT programs and to report on the impact on US workers. However, SEVP has now announced that it will not be setting up a new unit. On a side note, a DC District Court has ruled that the OPT and STEM OPT programs are lawful.
Delay of new H-1B lottery rule prioritizing petitions based on wage levels.
Before departing the White House Trump attempted to change the H-1B lottery from a random selection process to one where Level IV and Level III wages would be given priority. The new rule has been delayed until the end of the year which means that the FY2022 lottery (starting in March 2021) will be the same as previous years i.e. based on random selection.
USCIS revokes Computer Programmer memo
In 2017 USCIS unleashed its 2017 computer programmer memo which wreaked havoc through the Immigration Community. This means that USCIS will not be able to deny a petition on the ground that the position of a computer programmer is not an H-1B specialty occupation. This revocation is the result of an Order from a US Appeals Court, overturning a previous denial.
USCIS no longer moving forward with Trump’s new civic test for Naturalization applicants
In December 2020, President Trump proposed a new civic test for applicants filing for Naturalization. This test would make it harder for applicants to qualify and would reduce the number of Naturalized immigrants. After a review of the Naturalization process, instigated by President Biden’s Executive Order, USCIS will now revert back to the 2008 civics test, although those who were studying for the new test will be given the option to take either the 2020 test or the 2008 one.
Other changes include ending the Muslim travel ban, ending the construction of the border wall, extending TPS for Liberians, reinstatement and preservation of DACA, pausing the removal of certain immigrants for 100 days, and sending a bill to Congress to create an 8- year pathway to citizenship for certain immigrants. Disappointingly Biden did not revoke Trump’s proclamations suspending the entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants which is currently in effect until March 31, 2021.
Going forward we expect to see further changes including the withdrawal of the notorious Public Charge rule. However, to do this the Biden administration would need to follow the correct procedures under the Administrative Procedure Act by providing a notice and comment period. Therefore, the withdrawal of this rule is likely to take several months.
For further updates on Immigration please continue to check our website for further details: