Biden Reboots U.S. Immigration
When Donald Trump took office 4 years ago, one thing was clear: illegal immigration was in his gun sights. Tapping into a divided America, the border wall became his top priority, children were separated from their parents at the U.S. border, and immigrants of color and other religions were banned from the U.S. As inconsistent as these policies were with the history of our great nation, they played well to an increasingly xenophobic, disaffected minority of Americans who erroneously blamed their economic woes not on Wall Street but on immigrants.
To the dismay of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and most of America’s leading employers, Trump’s predictable attacks against immigration turned more insidious, targeting LEGAL immigration in all its forms. In the past 4 years:
- Family immigration processing – when U.S. citizens or residents apply for their loved one’s U.S. residency – crawled to the slowest past in year.
- Despite federal law, the U.S. began forcing Central American migrants fleeing violence to await their U.S. asylum applications in Mexico, where many women and children were subject to abuse.
- Finally, Trump set his eyes on business and investment-based immigration, issuing executive orders effectively shutting down business-driven visa categories like the H-1B and L visas, falsely claiming that this was to protect American jobs.
- Most remarkably, despite dramatic fee increases, we saw EB-5 processing crawl to a near halt , resulting in an jaw-dropping average of 3 EB-5 cases processed per year based on the total of USCIS employees in the EB-5 unit
The inauguration of President Biden on January 20th, thankfully, launched with a massive reboot to right the ship that Mr. Trump has toppled and restore our U.S. immigration processes to their original and noble intentions. Initially focusing his first days in office on humanitarian issues such as DACA, discriminatory bans, and policies put in place to punish bona fide international students, his appointment of Alejandro Mayorkas as Director of Homeland Security – Mr. Mayorkas, a Cuban-American immigrant like myself, was President Obama’s USCIS Chief from 2009-2012 — reflects the beginning of the end of the artificial obstacles and impediments the Trump administration placed on lawful investment-based immigration.
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Attorney José E. Latour