As of November 30, 2020, both the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) released a list of recommendations to restructure immigration in general in the early days of the new Biden-Harris administration. As immigration is a big topic lately, the following recommendations are being made with the upcoming administration:
- Bring Back the Old Mission Statement – We urge USCIS to change its mission statement and add back to the “Nation of immigrants.” The previous mission statement was “USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.” The removal of this was a deep disappointment to all.
- Proclaim a message of Welcome – President Biden should issue a proclamation immediately once he takes office declaring that the United States welcomes all people, no matter their faith, color, or nationality as we should revoke the discriminatory policies made by the prior administration to exclude certain nationals.
- Ensure Fairness, Efficiency, and Accountability in the Legal Immigration System – USCIS must be reformed to redefine its mission to provide prompt, consistent, and fair adjudications as AILA documented that the processing times for applications filed during 2014 to 2019 increased by 101%.
- Restore Integrity, Fairness, and Efficiency to the Immigration Courts – The new administration should urge Congress to create an Article I immigration Court that is independent from the Department of Justice. This would help remove the radical changes that changed the integrity of the immigration courts and their ability to ensure fairness and impartiality.
- Ensure the Fair and Humane Treatment of Migrants at the Boarder – the boarder needs to be secured while the dignity of migrants and uploading their legal right to seek asylum. We must urge the implementation of a fair, orderly, and efficient screening process.
- Restore Asylum Law and Protection of Victims of Crime and Refugees – the new administration should remove the unlawful regulations and policies set by the Trump administration that exclude people from protection. These should include victims of domestic violence and gang persecution. They also need to reduce the regulations for asylum seekers to meet deadlines, find legal counsel, or obtain valid work authorization.
- Guarantee Legal Assistance and Counsel – the new administration needs to provide counsel to those in removal proceedings who cannot afford counsel. A study in 2016 indicated that only 37% of people facing removal were represented and only 14$ of detailed people were able to acquire legal counsel.
- End Inhumane Detention – the skyrocketing detention rates has cost taxpayers over $2 billion annually, which profits private prison companies. Detention rates need to be reduced and review of each individuals case for release should be done within an enforced time frame.
- Set a Vision or Immigration Enforcement that is Fair, Humane, and Effective – the enforcement system needs to be removed that was characterized by the excessive use of detention centers, removals that violate the law, and the excessive use of police power.
- Improve Customs and Border Protection Adjudications and Processing at Ports of Entry – the infrastructure needs to be improved at each port of entry and ensure consistency and transparency in their adjudications.
- Protect Undocumented People and Others with Deep Ties to America – recommendation of DACA being reinstated with more fairness and accessibility with modified criteria in addition to granting temporary protected status and deferred enforced departure to nationals of countries experiencing crises.
- Reform Employment Based and Family Based Visa Programs – the visa programs need to ensure efficient processing of cases to reduce backlogs and promote business immigration to help revive the US economy. In addition to improving the H-1B program that were facing tough regulations released in the fall of 2020.
- Ensure the State Department is Properly Resources to Provide Fair and Efficient Consular Processing – the new administration should push consular posts to respond quickly for the surge in consular services once the pandemic is reduced and reform visa processing at the consulates.
This article aims to provide new information concerning the immigration recommendations made by AILA to the Biden-Harris administration. This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).