Happy New Year

While most people celebrate the New Year on January 1st, this year I feel like the New Year will start on January 20th.  This will be the New Year for immigration and the country that understands that Immigration is good for our country. After four years of assault on this country that was delivered through our immigration system, I look forward to leaders who will endeavor to do what is good for all of us. The Biden team is expected to take some action on immigration on Day 1. These will be things that can be done by Executive Action including eliminating the “Muslim Ban”. He is also expected to stop the building of the “Wall” and to restore DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals.) President Biden is also expected to increase the number of person granted asylum from 18,000 to 125,000. This is something that is under the total discretion of the President. Our new President Biden has endorsed a moratorium on deportations for the first 100 days of his presidency and to restore “sensible enforcement priorities” that focus on people who pose a national security threat or have serious criminal records. He has also stated that he would stop workplace raids and stop the deportation of U.S. military veterans. Of great significant is his plan to allow a path to citizenship for our nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants many of whom have been here long enough to have adult U.S. citizen children and grandchildren.

The new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also provides reason for hope. Alejandro Mayorkas, is the son of Jewish Cuban refugees and will be to first immigrant and the first Hispanic American to lead DHS. Under the Obama administration he was one of the creators of DACA. He views immigrants as a benefit to the country and wrote that “When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge. Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved one”

The next few months will be more challenging than normal to me as an immigration attorney who advises clients on the law and what can be done for them in the midst of rapid, almost daily change. This is especially challenging in the midst of the pandemic which has closed many offices and slowed down processing and scheduling of appointments in the U.S. and at the U.S. consulates abroad. But I am hopeful that we are on a path to beat down the virus and hopeful that a new attitude will permeate our immigration system providing new and better options in the near future.  Happy New Year

Linda M Kaplan