Articles Posted in Immigration News

Immigration policy has always been a critical and controversial issue in American politics.  Not a day goes by when there isn’t some news story dealing with immigration issues.  With the transition from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, there has been a significant shift in policies and priorities. In this post, the legal team at highlights some of the most significant changes in immigration policy under President Biden compared to President Trump.

1. The “Zero Tolerance” Policy

The “Zero Tolerance” policy was one of the signature cornerstones of the Trump administration’s approach to immigration issues.  This policy led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the United States/Mexico border.  Under this controversial policy, persons who crossed the border without inspection or authorization were criminally prosecuted.  This resulted in thousands of families being separated.  However, upon assuming office, the Biden administration issued an executive order terminating President Trump’s Zero Tolerance policy and created a task force to start reunifying families that had been separated as a result of this policy.  President Biden has since stated that he intends to focus on the root causes of migration from Central America and reforming the nation’s asylum process.


This month the United States Department of Homeland Security announced that it has designated the nation of Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”).  A country can be designated for TPS if the conditions in that country include armed conflict, environmental disaster or extraordinary conditions that otherwise make life dangerous in that country.  What this means in practical terms is that persons from Ethiopia currently residing in the United States as of October 20, 2022 can remain here for 18-months without fear of overstaying a visa or being deported.  That 18-month period can be extended if the TPS gets extended.  The rationale behind TPS is that persons from nations that have been designated for TPS status cannot return home without being placed in danger and therefore they must be allowed to remain in the United States for a temporary period of time for their protection.

Currently, Ethiopia’s Tigray region has witnessed an ongoing civil war since 2020 that has brought tremendous suffering and danger to the region.  In addition to this civil war, theshutterstock_2198353425-Converted-1-300x220 country is also experiencing food shortages, dangerous environmental conditions and other hardships that make life dangerous.  In recognition of this, the Secretary of DHS, Alejandro Mayorkas, recently commented that “Ethiopian nationals currently residing in the U.S. who cannot safely return will be able to remain and work in the United States until conditions in their home country improve.”  This news has been met with relief in the Ethiopian community and especially among those facing the prospect of overstaying a visa versus returning home to dangerous conditions.


The law known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as “DACA,” was passed 10-years ago this month (June 15, 2012) during President Barack Obama’s Administration.  DACA protects individuals who arrived in the United States as children and affords them legal protection from deportation, along with giving them the right to work.  While the law was a significant step in the direction of providing protection to a large class of people living in the United States, immigration advocates have fought hard since the passage of DACA to provide recipients with a pathway toward permanent legal residence or citizenship.  The proposal to allow DACA recipients a pathway toward citizenship is known as the “Dream Act” and DACA eligible recipients are often referred to as “Dreamers.”

DACA hits 10 year anniversary sparking calls to pass the "Dream Act"

DACA hits 10 year anniversary sparking calls to pass the “Dream Act”

The 6 Most Important Things To Know About Deportation Proceedings

If you’re facing deportation, more formally referred to as “removal proceedings,” you may be afraid of being forced to return to the country you left and be forced from the United States which you now consider your home.  It’s important to understand why you may have to leave the US and what rights you have to try and remain here.

In recent times, immigration enforcement has become a government priority.  There is not a day that goes by without some aspect of immigration being discussed in the news.  Having competent legal representation to protect your rights is very important.  This blog is intended to help you understand some of the various aspects of deportation law.

Did the Supreme Court make deportation for “Crime of Violence” less likely?

In a case entitled Borden v. United States, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) recently clarified the level of mental awareness that persons must have in order to be convicted under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). In that case, the Court was interpreting the meaning of the language used to describe the commission of a “violent felony” under the ACCA (a federal statute).

While SCOTUS was not ruling on an immigration law specifically, the language that was being interpreted was very similar to language used in immigration laws to describe criminal behavior that can result in deportation. Therefore, the Court’s ruling may have applicability in immigration deportation proceedings where a noncitizen is being deported for committing a crime of violence.

Is the US boarder still closed to Canadians?

Starting approximately March 2020, the United States and Canada agreed to restrict border crossings for all nonessential travel in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 between the two countries. Canada’s ban included travel by air, land, and sea. Interestingly, the US never banned Canadians from flying to the US. But the question still lays, is the US border still closed to Canadians?

On August 9 Canada reopened the border to US residents who have been fully vaccinated and provide results of a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. The US, however, did not respond in kind. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the restrictions until October 21, 2021. The US ban applies to land ports of entry, passenger rail, ferry terminals, and pleasure boats. The ban does not apply to air, freight rail or sea travel.

United States expands Afghan refugee admissions at critical time

As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, thousands of refugees are also desperately trying to leave the country. Since 2009 the US has admitted qualifying Afghan allies and their families under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. The program offers resettlement in the US to Afghans who assisted US military operations and are in danger of retribution from Taliban forces. Thus the United States expands Afghan refugee admissions at critical time of crisis putting more stress on personal working on SIV applications.

However, the processing of SIV applications has been slow and wait times long. It’s estimated that 300,000 Afghans provided assistance to the US yet only about 20,000 SIVs have been issued since the inception of the program. And many who worked with the US and are in need of assistance do not qualify for SIV.

COVID-19 Blamed for Extending Migration Ban at North and South Borders

In March of 2020, as COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and President Trump declared a national emergency in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used its authority in the name of the protection of public health to suspend migration of foreign nationals across the borders from Canada and Mexico. Due to the unpredictable length of time that COVID-19 has presented to the world, extending migration ban at north and south boards have been implemented.

The migration ban has been extended several times since it was initially imposed. Opponents argue that the ban unfairly targets non-citizens while millions of other travelers are still allowed to come into the U.S. across the northern and southern borders.

Biden Immigration Reform Bill Creates New Path to Citizenship

Under “The US Citizenship Act of 2021,” legislation that began making its way through Congress in February of this year, the Biden administration is attempting to revamp an outdated immigration system and help make right the immigration wrongs imposed by the previous administration. Important issues addressed by the new legislation include the need to keep immigrant families together and to make an effort to reunite families that were previously separated while trying to immigrate. The new law would also make the screening process more efficient and cut down on long wait times. And, the law would empower immigration judges to have more discretion to consider individual circumstances and make decisions as appropriate under the circumstances of each case.

Migrants From Venezuela Get Temporary Protected Status From Biden Administration

Just this past month, migrants from Venezuela get temporary protected statue from the Biden Administration. March 2021, President Biden made good on his campaign promise and granted temporary protected status (TPS) to the more than 300,000 Venezuelans currently living in the United States. Venezuela has been in political and economic turmoil since current president Nicolas Maduro took over in 2013. The government in Venezuela is regarded as corrupt and crime and poverty are rampant. People have been fleeing the country in huge numbers. In fact, about 5 million of the country’s 28 million people have already left and the situation doesn’t look to get better any time soon.

Persons in the United States from Venezuela who are eligible for TPS have until September 5, 2021 to register for relief with the government. Applicants must show they have been physically present in the United States since March 9, 2021. TPS will be good through September 9, 2022.

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