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Immigration Executive Orders Will Take Time to Implement

Outreach Magazine
Outreach Magazine
Immigration Changes are Coming

With a flurry of federal action on immigration, agencies tasked with enforcing await clarification, and one injunction.

The day of his inauguration, President Joe Biden signed several executive orders — four of which centered on immigration. The actions sparked hope in the immigrant community, and created some confusion at agencies tasked with enforcing these mandates.

What we know for sure is this: DACA (the deferred action on childhood arrival program — often called Dreamers’ Act) remains in place, the ban on travel from Muslim majority countries has been lifted, and the emergency designation that pulled funding towards building a border wall is terminated.

Southwest Florida immigration attorney Indera DeMine says that change will make legal immigration a little less difficult.

“A lot of funds were being redirected to the wall- and that affected immigration in so many different ways. When funds are being redirected to building this wall, what we have seen as practitioners, processing things went from a few months to a year. Immigration court was severely backlogged,” DeMine said.

Biden also officially rescinded Trump’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” which had asylum seekers criminally charged for seeking to enter at the border. This is the policy that led to family separation and migrants held in Mexican prisons while waiting for a court date in the US.

Adding to the avalanche of immigration actions, after signing his executive orders, President Biden then sent out a 100-day moratorium on deportations in a memorandum through his Justice Department. A judge has since halted that for 14 days while Texas comes up with its case against that policy. DeMine says that’s put agencies into a bit of a holding pattern.

“But nothing yet from ICE as far as how they’re going to handle this moratorium and then of course the court came down and said, ‘we’re blocking the temporary injunction’.”

The confusion, DeMine says, leaves immigrants ripe for scam artists.

“So far we’ve seen that there’s a lot of hopefulness, but a lot of misinformation in the immigrant community. A lot of people take advantage of the folks that aren’t sure about this new policy. I’ve seen fliers saying, ‘give us a call about this new Biden policy,’ and in reality, nothing much has changed,” DeMine said.

DeMine says she believes the mood in immigration policy circles is shifting to more pro-immigrant, but the changes will take a while to have a tangible effect on the immigrants for whom every policy change can be life-altering.