Is Joe Biden going to fix everything about immigration on his first day in office?
Hi, I’m Jim hacking immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our offices in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California. We got an email over the weekend from a young man who wanted to know, “Will Joe Biden do away with the rule that says you have to apply for asylum within one year?” And I think this reflects sort of an unrealistic expectation of the things that Joe Biden can and cannot do when he takes office on January 20th, 2021. A lot of people are excited and rightfully so about the impending departure of Donald J. Trump, who was the most anti-immigrant president we’ve had in the century, if not all of the presidents who have served our country.
But everyone’s excited about him leaving and there seems to be a bit of a backswing or an unrealistic expectation that settling in again among immigrants. A lot of people sort of have these dream-like scenarios where, now that we have a new president who is friendly to immigrants, that all the hard facts and hard laws that are in certain cases that are present for certain people in their immigration scenarios, that all of a sudden everything’s going to be fine under Joe Biden.
President-elect Biden has promised to undo a lot of the executive orders that President Trump has put in place, specifically the Muslim ban and the other immigration bans that President Trump has put into office. But Joe Biden is going to have to go through the administrative process to overcome certain rules like the public charge rule, and some of the asylum rules that the Trump administration has actually gone through the process of noticing comment and getting actual rule changes. So when an administrative agency wants to change the rules in a substantive or important way they have to do what’s called, provide notice and comment. They have to publish the proposed rule. They have to allow the public to comment on it, and then they have to adopt the new rule through formal rule-making procedures. And the Trump administration did do that on some of their big rule changes. That’s how we had that 950 page rule on public charge.
So some of the things that’s going to take President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a while to undo. Other things like, Oh boy, Jim, can Joe Biden just make all the undocumented people here a citizen? No, of course not. That’s going to have to go through Congress. So I just wanted to shoot this video to make sure that everyone’s being realistic in what their expectations are for President-elect Biden. Thank God, I misspoke there. President-elect Biden is going to have his hands full dealing with all kinds of messes and mistakes from the Trump administration. And I think that we all just need to be a little bit realistic in what can be done.
I’m excited to see the changes that are forthcoming. We’ve seen a sea change in the last four years in an anti-immigrant way, and we’re excited to see things go back. But there’s things that only Congress can fix things that can be fixed through the notice and comment procedure. And then there’s things that President-elect Biden can fix with the stroke of a pen by signing a new executive order. So it’ll be interesting to see, but don’t hold your breath. Everything’s not going to happen overnight.
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