President Biden Immigration Reform

This page is updated frequently. Please check back for the latest news on President Biden’s first 100 days.

Immigration Law Firm in Washington, D.C.

Biden Moves To Reform ICE

May 26, 2021

The Biden administration will soon release its budget for the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Mayorkas recently stated that his agency would close two ICE detention centers as part of the administration’s plans to reform ICE. 

President Biden’s first days in office were marked by a flurry of activity to reform the immigration system. Although he ordered a 100-day freeze on many removals, a federal district court judge blocked the administration’s efforts. Nevertheless, he persists.

One of the big pieces of reform expected to be included in the budget is this administration’s use of detainers. A detainer is an ICE request to a local jail or law enforcement agency to hold an individual in order to give ICE sufficent time to detain the person. The process ran roughshod for many years and resulted in many innocent people being caught in the grasp of ICE. Now, the Biden administration has ordrered ICE officers to seek prior approval from regional directors before placing detainers on individuals. This change will reduce the extrajudicial actions of many ICE officers. The former policy granted ICE enormous power to detain people without seeking judicial approval. The changes are long overdue.

Another new approach requires ICE officers to obtain approval before arresting most people. In the dark days prior to President Biden entering the Oval Office, ICE officers were careening from one end of the country to the other and running rampant to arrest fathers, grandmothers and anyone they suspected of having entered the country without inspection. Today, President Biden has put a stop to this inhumane and unlawful practice by requiring ICE officers to arrest only those who pose a national security threat or a public safety risk. ICE will no longer systematically arrest people who enter the United States out of fear and desperation and who are literally running for their lives, as they cross a desert and encounter unspeakable challenges and horrors.

Gone are the dark days in American history when ICE officers roamed the streets and arrested abuelas and abuelos simply for crossing the border without inspection. No longer can an ICE officer extrajudicially arrest an unaccompanied minor. 

Today, the U.S. government’s immigration efforts have been refocused on capturing serious offenders, not families and children. We have entered an age of enlightenment in the world of immigration. And this is just the beginning of additional efforts to reform ICE.


The Return of the International Entrepreneur Parole Program

May 15, 2021

The legal immigration system took a big step forward last week when the Biden administration announced the return of the International Entrepreneur (IE) parole program. The program helps foreign national entrepreneurs and start-ups create new jobs and opportunities. 

The IE program grants foreign entrepreneurs lawful entry into the United States. The foreign national must prove that the business they create will greatly benefit the domestic economy. Parole is granted by the Department of Homeland Security only to those entrepreneurs that work for their start-up business. 

The program had been halted under the previous administration’s efforts to shut down the legal, business and corporate immigration system. However, the new announcement means that qualified entreprenuer’s can once again lawfully enter the United States. 

The Biden administration has sought to “promote access to the legal immigration system.” This announcement, in fact, corresponds to Executive Order 14012 signed by the president, and known as “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.”

A Form I-941, Application for Entrepreneur Parole, is required to obtain approval for lawful entry. The spouse and children of a foreign entrepreneur may also be granted parole by filing Form I-131. 


Biden to Global Talent: Welcome Back!

April 3, 2021

Temporary foreign workers will once again be permitted entry into the United States. Employment visas had been banned by the prior administration under the pretext that the economy needed protection from foreign workers due to the pandemic. However, the Biden administration has now lifted the ban. 

In June of 2020, the prior administration terminated visas for foregin workers looking for H-1B visas.  This ban affected many students, engineers and technology workers.

The ban had been heavily criticized by many businesses because it deprived them of attracting global talent and filling many positions that were left open in the United States.  Temporary worker visas fill a critical need for many U.S. businesses.

The new policy will once again permit many qualified workers seeking green cards and visas to enter the United States. It will also allow many family members to reunite and join United States citizens and lawful permanent residents here.

We are closely monitoring developments with The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. The bill provides a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country and creates an eight-year path to citizenship for almost all undocumented immigrants in the United States as of January 1, 2021.

Importantly, the bill will also increase employment-based visas. Businesses and other employers will be able to more easily attract global talent by bringing foreign workers to the United States based on the availability of applicable visas. 

The Law Office of Miguel A. Serrano, based in Washington, D.C., provides expert immigration advice and total dedication to their clients, many of whom seek temporary worker visas. Immigration reform advocates have high hopes in the new Congress and with the Biden administration. As Business Immigration Lawyers, clients include employers and businesses, academics, scientists, artists and athletes from around the world. The firm represents many seeking an EB-1 visa, an L visa, O visa and an EB-2 for business start-ups. The firm also represents families seeking reunification with visas, residency applications and citizenship. With decades of experience, our firm can help your business solve the complex world of U.S. immigration law.


Biden Welcomes Venezuelans

March 10, 2021

President Biden announced today that he is issuing Temporary Protected Status and employment authorizations to individuals from Venezuela living in the United States. This will eliminate the threat of deportation facing approximately 320,000 people. 

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas remarked upon the importance of this decision because it is “in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”

According to the United Nations, about 94 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty. Millions of people in Venezuela lack access to basic essentials such as food, water and medicine.

President Biden’s bold move today contrasts with the decision of the previous administration which refused to offer Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans in the United States despited repeated entreaties from high-level and exiled opposition Venezuelan leaders. In fact, the previous administration forcibly deported many Venezuelans.

In addition, the prior administration attempted to remove Temporary Protected Status to approximately 400,000 immigrants from various countries that currently work in the United States. The Temporary Protected Status program was created by Congress in 1990 to give safe-haven to many who fled their homeland due to wars and and natural disasters.

The leading opposition voice in the United States, Carlos Vecchio, who is the would-be Ambassador should Maduro’s government fall, called Biden’s decision “a just, urgent and necessary measure that is finally a reality.”


Biden Lifts Ban on Visas

March 3, 2021

President Biden has revoked a temporary ban on green cards that had been imposed by the prior administration in its efforts to restrict immigration.

In April of 2020, the last administration suspended the issuance of green cards to some individuals attempting to enter the United States. The list of affected persons included family of current green card holders and parents and siblings of United States citizens. It also affected winners of the lottery system, amounting to thousands of individuals.

This policy of family separation was consistent with many of the prior administration’s efforts to curb immigration. The Biden administration has quickly seized on the opportunity to reverse these draconian policies and has sought to reunite families.  

In addition, President Biden’s decision helps increase the admission of global talent coming to work in the United States to offer their expertise in many important industries with critical-needs for labor.   

Finally, applicants that were selected to receive immigrant visas through the Fiscal Year 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery can now enter the United States. This amounts to some 7,000 winners who can safely enter the country and be reunited with their families. 

We can expect more changes from the Biden Administration in the coming weeks as it seeks to rescind many of the policies of its predecessor.  And we continue to monitor the status of President Biden’s sweeping immigration reform bill which was formally introduced on Capitol Hill last month.  The bill would increase employment-based visas. Businesses and other employers will be able to more easily attract global talent by bringing foreign workers to the United States based on a variety of visas.

The Law Office of Miguel A. Serrano provides expert immigration advice and total dedication to their clients. We are closely monitoring the immigration reform bill. As Business Immigration Lawyers, clients include employers and businesses, academics, scientists, artists and athletes. The firm represents many seeking an EB-1 visa, an L visa and an EB-2 for business start-ups. As Family Immigration Lawyers, we also represent families seeking reunification with visas, residency applications and citizenship.

Please reach out to us if you have an immigration concern.


Biden’s Immigration Reform Bill Introduced Today In Congress

February 18, 2021

President Biden’s sweeping immigration reform bill was formally introduced on Capitol Hill today. Sen. Bob Menendez (D) New Jersey, a son of Cuban immigrants and Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D) California, a daughter of Mexican immigrants introduced the legislation. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 provides a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

The proposed bill creates an eight-year path to citizenship for almost all undocumented immigrants in the United States as of January 1, 2021. First, following a background check that includes proof of the full payment of taxes, an applicant would receive an official employment work authorization permit for a period of 5 years. After five years, they would become eligible for a green card. Finally, after three years with permanent residency, an immigrant could apply for full citizenship.

The proposed legislation would also increase employment-based visas. Businesses and other employers will be able to more easily attract global talent by bringing foreign workers to the United States based on a variety of visas.

The bill also vastly improves family-based immigration. Families seeking to reunify will find it easier to come to the United States. Spouses and minor children will be able to join relatives currently residing here as the bill would eliminate many roadblocks currently in place.

Please check back frequently for updates as the bill works its way through Congress and changes are made to it. We will also highlight additional portions of the legislation in upcoming updates. 

The Law Office of Miguel A. Serrano provides expert immigration advice and total dedication to their clients. We are closely monitoring the immigration reform bill. As Business Immigration Lawyers, clients include employers and businesses, academics, scientists, artists and athletes. The firm represents many seeking an EB-1 visa, an L visa and an EB-2 for business start-ups. As Family Immigration Lawyers, we also represent families seeking reunification with visas, residency applications and citizenship. With decades of experience, our firm can help your business solve the complex world of U.S. immigration law.


Visa Suspensions

February 17, 2021

On April 22, 2020, the previous administration announced visa suspensions arguing that they presented “a risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.” With that decision, the United States suspended visas to protect the labor market, not due to any health risks posed by the pandemic.

During its last full month in operation, the previous administration extended the prohibition until March 31, 2021, thus placing its decision squarely before the Biden administration.

Thus, it is now up to President Biden to reverse the order and re-issue the prior rules concerning visas. 

EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISAS

The policy change of visa suspensions is expected to affect approximately 525,000 individuals. It will also affect about 20,000 businesses and employers who had planned to bring much-needed workers to the United States to fill critical positions. Employers that rely on these expected workers are facing labor shortfalls. Businesses seeking to attract high-quality personnel will suffer.

The United States has long enjoyed a reputation for attracting the best global talent. However, the new policy has resulted in these workers looking elsewhere, including Canada. It also affects CEO’s of foreign companies in their ability to visit a U.S. factory. In fact, they might think twice about relocating plants and offices here in the future and instead choose other more hospitable places. 

The ban also hurts universities and colleges in the United States. The best of the best international students are more likely now to study elsewhere and bypass the labyrinth that is the U.S. immigration system.

DIVERSITY VISA GOLDEN TICKETS

Many of those affected are winners of diversity visas. These visas are distributed by lottery and are meant to increase representation from some countries.

These “golden tickets” total about 50,000 in any given year.  A winner with the diversity visa must enter the U.S. within six months of its approval. With the change in policy, many of these diversity visa winners will be unable to enter the United States before their visas expire.

Please check back frequently as we provide updates on the Biden administration’s efforts to roll back many immigration policies. 

The Law Office of Miguel A. Serrano provides expert immigration advice and total dedication to their clients. As Global Business Immigration Lawyers, clients include employers and businesses, academics, scientists, artists and athletes. The firm represents many seeking an EB-1 visa, an L visa and an EB-2 for business start-ups. The firm also represents families seeking reunification with visas, residency applications and citizenship. With decades of experience, our firm can help your business solve the complex world of U.S. immigration law.


Biden Expected to Reverse Over 1000 Anti-Immigration Policies

February 14, 2021

President Biden’s first 3 weeks in office have brought major changes to the nation’s immigration system. We’ve highlighted some of these changes in earlier posts such as the president’s plan to reunify separated children with their parents and the decision to terminate construction of a wall on the southern border. However, over 1000 anti-immigration policy changes implemented by the previous administration will need to be untangled by President Biden.

It will take the new administration considerable time to reverse the myriad of problems caused by their predecessors. The previous administration intentionally created confusion and put up obstacles to applicants seeking employment-based visas. For example, as described below, scientists, physicians and researchers seeking a visa based upon extraordinary ability, athletes with a P-1A, and business professionals applying for an EB-1(c), received a denial and were not afforded an opportunity at responding to an RFE. 

employment-based petitions Are Denied Without Issuing A RFE

On September 11, 2018, USCIS began denying employment-based and family-based petitions without issuing a request for evidence (RFE). They also decided to deny applications without issuing a notice of intent to deny (NOID), under certain circumstances. This policy was a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision of June 3, 2013 that required the USCIS to issue an RFE in almost all cases, absent some valid statutory basis. An RFE was always required unless there was “no possibility” that the submission of additional evidence would suffice. The Biden administration will endeavor to address this problem that has affected many thousands of applicants. 

Green Card Delays

On October 21, 2017, USCIS began requiring in-person interviews for some green card applicants. This policy was created because the previous administration wanted to limit immigration into the country. The result of the in-person interview was to significantly delay the approval of green cards. The change has affected those with employment-based visas who are seeking an adjustment of status such as those with an H-1B and L-1. It also negatively affects the petitions of refugee family members as well as those granted asylum.

H-1B Selection Process

On January 8, 2021, just 12 days before the start of the Biden administration, the predecessor announced that the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule to eliminate the random H-1B lottery and replace it with a selection process based on the wage-levels. The random selection of foreign professionals has been the norm but this change will instead prioritize those applicants that have been offered high salaries. The Biden administration is expected to freeze this regulation ahead of the lottery process. The new rule negatively affects small businesses that cannot pay wages as high as larger companies. It would also make it harder to hire foreign workers that are in the early stages of their careers. 

These are just three of the policy and regulatory changes we can expect the Biden administration to tackle. Please check back for frequent updates and more examples of immigration reforms.


President Biden’s Executive Orders on Immigration

The president’s efforts to reform our nation’s immigration system during his first two weeks in office

February 2, 2021

White House Executive Order: Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems

President Biden signed an Executive Order today that will clear the backlog of many applications for visas, both immigrant and non-immigrant. The president’s actions seek to increase access to the legal immigration system. The Order will also improve the process of citizenship and naturalization by removing cumbersome obstacles.


February 2, 2021

White House Executive Order: Addressing the Causes of Migration; Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers

President Biden stated in this order that “[s]ecuring our borders does not require us to ignore the humanity of those who seek to cross them. The president aims to address the “violence, instability, and lack of opportunity that compel so many people to flee their homes.” The Biden administration will enact policy to manage migration “throughout North and Central America that reflects the Nation’s highest values.”


February 2, 2021

White House Executive Order: Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families

President Biden signed an Executive Order today to begin the process of reuniting children with their parents who were inhumanely separated by the previous administration. The president stated that “[i]t is the policy of my administration to respect and value the integrity of families seeking to enter the United States.  My administration condemns the human tragedy that occurred when our immigration laws were used to intentionally separate children from their parents or legal guardians (families), including through the use of the Zero-Tolerance Policy.”


February 2, 2021

White House Cabinet Confirmation: Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas

Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of Homeland Security. Secretary Mayorkas is the first Latino to lead the Department. The Secretary, who was born in Havana, Cuba in 1959, became a refugee in the United States when he, along with his parents and sister, left their island nation in 1960. Secretary Mayorkas will lead the administration’s critical efforts in reuniting over 600 children with their parents. The previous administration had a policy to separate refugee children from their parents and the Secretary’s mission will be to put these families back together. Secretary Mayorkas will also lead the president’s efforts to comprehensively reform our nation’s immigration system.


January 28, 2021 

White House Executive Order: Made in the U.S.A.

This executive order, “Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers,” requires the federal government to “maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States.” The purpose of this order is to help workers and businesses in the United States to compete and prosper.


January 26, 2021

Department of Justice Memorandum: Rescinds Zero-Tolerance Policy

DOJ issued a memorandum to rescind the zero-tolerance policy for offenses under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a).  The “zero tolerance” policy required all adults caught crossing the border without admission to be prosecuted for illegal entry. Due to the fact that children cannot be imprisoned with family members, this policy resulted in family separations. The children were then held by the Department of Health and Human Services and held indefinitely in custody, away from their parents. The new policy restores the practice of prosecuting on the merits of a specific case and effectively ends family separation.


January 25, 2021

White House Presidential Proclamation: COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

President Biden issued a proclamation that significantly limits the entry of non-residents and citizens from Brazil, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa and the United Kingdom.


January 21, 2021 

White House Executive Order: COVID-19 Safety Travel for International Arrivals

This Executive Order promotes COVID-19 safety in air travel by requiring a negative test from airline passengers entering the United States.


January 20, 2021

Department of Homeland Security Memorandum: 100 Day Deportation Pause

DHS will suspend removals of some non-citizens that had been ordered within the last 100 days.


January 20, 2021

White House Presidential Memorandum: DACA Preserved

President Biden orders the DACA to be preserved and strengthened. Although no immediate changes to the DACA program were implemented, it is expected that the administration will soon propose new positive measures.


January 20, 2021

White House Presidential Memorandum: Defers Removal of Liberian Nationals

The removal of any Liberian national has been deferred through June 30, 2022.


January 20, 2021

White House Presidential Proclamation: Redirects Funding for Border

President Biden declared that funds will no longer be used to construct a wall at the southern border.


January 20, 2021 

White House Executive Order: Census Must Include Undocumented Individuals

This Executive Order directs the Secretary of Commerce to ensure that all inhabitants of the United States, including those without permanent residency or citizenship, are included in the census.


January 20, 2021 

White House Executive Order:  Revises Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies

President Biden’s Order recognizes the many contributions of immigrants to this country. The president reaffirms the country’s commitment to due process of law and the importance of protecting the “dignity and well-being” of our newest neighbors. Thus, the president orders the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to review any agency actions to ensure “the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws” are consistent with our “values and priorities.”


January 20, 2021

White House Presidential Proclamation: Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States

President Biden directs the Secretary of State to resume visa processing for those applicants who had been denied admission solely on the basis of their chosen religion. This proclamation effectively ends the so-called “Muslim ban.”


President Biden Immigration Reform Bill

January 20, 2021

President Biden will soon send his Immigration Reform Bill to Congress. The president’s proposal will enable many of our friends and neighbors to remain in the United States and obtain full citizenship.

The long-overdue legislation will bring the immigration system into the twenty-first century by helping to grow the economy and keeping families together. It will provide fair and responsible management of the border while also confronting the causes of migration from Central America, from where so many are fleeing persecution and danger.

The highlight of the bill is the pathway to citizenship afforded to millions of non-citizens who have worked hard and diligently paid federal and state taxes for many years. Moms and dads who have raised children and contributed to our communities will finally have an opportunity to obtain lawful residence and then citizenship. 

immigration reform

A Pathway To Citizenship

President Kennedy’s book, a “Nation of Immigrants,” accurately portrayed the United States as a unique home that welcomes people from every corner of the world. In 2021, President Biden will propose comprehensive immigration reform to allow non-citizens the right to lawfully remain in the United States.

The citizenship process starts with undocumented individuals applying for temporary legal status and then subsequently applying for Permanent Residence (green card) after five years.  Applicants would need to demonstrate payment of taxes and pass criminal and background investigations.

The White House proposes that Dreamers, TPS holders, and certain immigrant farmworkers would be immediately eligible for Permanent Residency once the bill becomes law.

Applications for U.S. Citizenship would be accepted three years after the issuance of a green card, with additional background checks and successful completion of a citizenship test.  In order to apply, an applicant must have been physically present in the United States on or before January 1, 2021.

Business and Employment-Based Immigration Law Firm Washington DC

President Biden’s proposal is also likely to eliminate backlogs and other delays in processing  employment-based immigrant visa applications. Many individuals have been waiting for extraordinarily long periods of time to receive news on their applications. The bill will accelerate the processing of applications and bring relief to many.

We expect to receive more information on the president’s bill soon. Please bookmark this page for frequent updates.


The Law Office of Miguel A. Serrano provides expert immigration advice and total dedication to their clients. As Global Business Immigration Lawyers, clients include employers and businesses, academics, scientists, artists and athletes. The firm represents many seeking an EB-1 visa, an L visa and an EB-2 for business start-ups. The firm also represents families seeking reunification with visas, residency applications and citizenship. With decades of experience, our firm can help your business solve the complex world of U.S. immigration law.