It’s been an exciting week in the world of immigration. As we had been expecting, on Tuesday President Biden signed a fresh batch of executive orders directly impacting our immigration system.
These include (1) Executive Order on, “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans,” (2) Executive Order entitled, “Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border,” and (3) Executive Order on, “the Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families.
In this blog post, we will discuss the major provisions of the Executive Order entitled, “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion for New Americans,” and what this order means for you.
*Please note we will discuss the other two orders in separate upcoming blog posts.
EO – Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion for New Americans
First, we will discuss the President’s initiative to create a new task force that will promote integration and inclusion of foreign born immigrants, dismantle harmful policies arising from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, promote naturalization, and initiative to revoke former President Trump’s memorandum on enforcing the legal responsibilities of sponsors of aliens.
Task Force on New Americans
This executive order was created in order to promote integration and inclusion for immigrant communities including asylees and refugees. In line with this new executive order, the President has ordered his cabinet agencies to coordinate their efforts to pass policies that both welcome and support immigrants to the United States. To that end, the government will convene a Task Force on New Americans to positively impact local immigrant communities.
As discussed in section 3 of the order, the Department of State, the Attorney General, and the Department of Homeland Security will review and revise any existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and agency actions to ensure that they conform with the President’s agenda to welcome and support vulnerable immigrants. As part of this process, the government will be dismantling barriers that make it difficult to receive immigration benefits, including actions taken by the previous administration that do not promote fair access to the legal immigration system – such as potentially rescinding USCIS fee increases, and other such areas of concern.
The President has asked the heads of these agencies to submit a plan to him detailing the actions they will take to comply with the order within 90 days. Within 180 days these agencies must also submit a progress report showing the actions they have taken to comply with it.
Immediate Review of Public Charge Inadmissibility
Section 4 of the order also directs these agencies to review all actions relating to the public charge ground of inadmissibility in section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4), and the related ground of deportability in section 237(a)(5) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(5).
The agency heads must meet with the heads of other relevant agencies including the Secretary of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development to reevaluate policies relating to the ground of inadmissibility, address concerns, and recommend further actions and proposed changes to reduce fear and confusion among those who may be impacted.
Section 4 further recommends that within 60 days the heads of these agencies submit a report to the President describing the identified agency actions relating to the ground of inadmissibility, and steps the agency intends to take or has taken.
Section 5 of the order further directs the Department of State, the Attorney General, and the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan to improve the naturalization process within 60 days that will:
(i) eliminate barriers in and otherwise improve the existing naturalization process, including by conducting a comprehensive review of that process with particular emphasis on the N-400 application, fingerprinting, background and security checks, interviews, civics and English language tests, and the oath of allegiance;
(ii) substantially reduce current naturalization processing times;
(iii) make the naturalization process more accessible to all eligible individuals, including through a potential reduction of the naturalization fee and restoration of the fee waiver process;
(iv) facilitate naturalization for eligible candidates born abroad and members of the military, in consultation with the Department of Defense; and
(v) review policies and practices regarding denaturalization and passport revocation to ensure that these authorities are not used excessively or inappropriately.
Further, within 180 days agency heads must submit a progress report detailing progress implementing this plan, any barriers to implementation, and areas of concern.
The government will also be establishing an Interagency Working Group on Promoting Naturalization to develop a national strategy to promote naturalization with the heads of DHS, DOS, DOL, HHS, HUD, SSA, and others. Within 90 days the group must submit a strategy to the President about steps that will be taken to promote naturalization.
Revocation of Presidential Memorandum entitled, “Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens”
Most noteworthy, is section 6 of the order which specifically revokes former President Trump’s memorandum, “Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens,” which called on federal agencies to update procedures, guidance, and regulations to ensure that ineligible immigrants did not receive federal means tested benefits, and also to enforce the legal obligations of immigrant sponsors. This memorandum granted agencies the authority to seek reimbursement of benefits for every dollar of benefits received by an ineligible immigrant from the sponsor of the Affidavit of Support.
Section 6 of President Biden’s order has now done away with this memorandum altogether, and asked heads of all relevant agencies to conduct investigations pursuant to the newly revoked memorandum to determine whether to suspend any investigations previously initiated in accordance with that order.
We applaud the efforts of the Biden administration to welcome the most vulnerable immigrants to our society and its proactive approach to streamline the naturalization process.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-569-1768 or call 619-819-9204.
- Executive Order “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans”
- Executive Order, “Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border”
- Executive Order, “the Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families”
- Presidential Memorandum “Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens”
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- ImmigrationU Membership
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