Executive action needed to improve the immigration system

Executive action needed to improve the immigration system

During the last four years, the Trump administration has hindered immigration processes of all kinds, restricting the entry of asylum seekers and refugees to the US, reducing employment opportunities for highly qualified foreign workers, increasing requirements for family members of American citizens or Legal Permanent Residents and expediting mass deportations of undocumented immigrants without a court hearing.

However, despite President Trump seeking re-election in November 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden (Barack Obama’s term) took the victory, which means that the immigration system will change again under his administration. Since the president-elect, who will take office on January 20, 2021, has a rather welcoming stance on immigration, he plans to lift Trump’s restrictions and shape immigration processes in a less arbitrary way.

On Monday, January 11, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report explaining how the Biden administration could improve the immigration system using executive action to implement more humane and fair policies, reversing the damage done by the Trump administration to the immigration system and the most vulnerable immigrant communities.

According to the CAP report, the incoming government should use executive action and other legal processes to, not only reverse Trump’s restrictive policies, but also to permanently improve the immigration system so that future administrations cannot put the integrity of immigrants at risk, as it happened with the current administration.

Let’s see CAP’s proposal:

1. The incoming government must emphasize the need to transform the immigration system

Under CAP’s proposal, the Biden administration should introduce executive action during his first days in office, exposing the repercussions of Trump’s policies on the immigration system to highlight:

  • The need to transform the way the federal government approaches immigration.
  • The need to implement fairer policies and alternatives to protect immigrant communities in need of international assistance through humanitarian programs.
  • The impact of current restrictions on the country’s economy, which heavily relies on foreign workforce.

2. Present detailed proposals to improve the immigration system

After exposing the need to restructure the immigration system, the president-elect should present his immigration goals, ideals and proposals to make sure the impact of his administration goes beyond reversing Trump’s restrictive policies, but also improves the immigration system through permanent alternatives for vulnerable communities such as:

  • DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients.
  • TPS (Temporary Protected Status) beneficiaries.
  • Asylum seekers and refugees.

3. Take the most urgent actions to protect the immigration system

After laying out its immigration proposals in detail, the incoming government should take the most necessary actions to gradually restructure and reform the immigration system and “Restore the soul of America.”

Adding to that, in addition to executive action, the Biden administration may have to use more significant legislative reforms in order to offer more humane and welcoming alternatives to immigrant communities in the US.

In conclusion, CAP states that “these structural reforms will create an immigration system that lives up to the country’s best values, meets its realistic wants and needs, and is both capable of being followed and deserving of being enforced in a fair and just way.”

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