On Nov. 3, a heated U.S. presidential election came to a close with the victory of Democratic candidate Joe Biden. During his campaign, Biden promised to issue executive orders to overturn the anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration. Though details are still unclear, it seems we can expect positive change overall for immigrants.
Under the Trump administration — which shut down the DACA program, promised to build a wall, slashed legal immigration numbers and cut public assistance — immigrants lived in constant fear and anxiety over their status. In addition, the administration pushed further anti-immigrant sentiment by building on the message that immigrants are stealing job opportunities from American citizens and taking advantage of resources paid for by American taxpayers.
Meanwhile, Biden’s approach on immigration is different. He sees America as a nation of immigrants, and believes immigrants form the backbone not only of American culture, but of its economy and labor forces. If his policies stem from these beliefs, we can expect an improvement in the way America views immigrants and their role as members of American society.
From a policy aspect, below are points of interest for Koreans in the U.S.:
1. We anticipate the new rule surrounding what constitutes a “public charge” to be restored to its past definition.
2. We anticipate authorities to halt workplace raids and random checks, and target only undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
3. We anticipate the restoration of DACA, as well as the introduction of a pathway to citizenship for those in the program.
4. We anticipate the U.S. to open its doors to more immigrants, through family and employment. In the case of family-based immigration, we expect spouses and children (under 21) of permanent residents to be able to receive green cards much as they would if they were family of a citizen. For employment-based immigration, we expect limitations on visas to shrink as more opportunities are created for international students to obtain work visas or green cards.
5. We anticipate faster processing times through the immigration system.
We expect greater opportunities for immigration going forward, and encourage everyone to prepare for and keep up-to-date on policies that may affect them.
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