US President Joe Biden wants to make moving to America ‘cheaper and easier’ by overhauling the US immigration system, according to a New York Times report. A 46-page document titled ‘DHS Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System’ outlines plans to reverse many of former US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policies.
Policies included in the document will reportedly help more people move to America, including asylum seekers, refugees, trafficking victims, high-skilled workers, families of US citizens living abroad and Native Americans born in Canada, according to the New York Times report.
It’s understood that the Biden administration plans to revamp several US visa programs within the American immigration system, including the H1B visa program for highly skilled workers and the U visa program, which offers citizenship to undocumented immigrants if they cooperate with law enforcement.
Simpler US immigration forms
The 46-page document proposes shorter US immigration forms that can be filed online. Meanwhile, people will go through fewer security checks and US immigration authorities will make fewer requests for evidence from foreign-born nationals.
“Potential immigrants will have a better chance of securing US work visas or joining their families in the United States,” the 46-page proposal said.
US visa fees could be reduced or waivers granted to reduce restrictions to US immigration. Under the Trump administration, tighter restrictions and less travel amid the coronavirus pandemic has meant fewer immigrants arriving in the US.
A lack of US visa and immigration applications left United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which relies totally on fees paid by immigrants to operate, on the brink of collapse. Restoring USCIS to a place of financial security is a top priority for the Biden administration.
Significant changes needed
The Chief of Staff at USCIS, Felicia Escobar Carrillo, told the New York Times: “There are significant changes that need to be made to really open up all avenues of legal immigration.”
“In the same way that [the Trump administration] took a broad-stroke approach to closing off avenues, I think we want to take a broad approach toward opening up the legal avenues that have always been available but that they tried to put roadblocks up on,” Carrillo added.
Prior to the release of the 46-page ‘DHS Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System’ document, USCIS sent a 14-page document to the White House outlining plans to ‘enhance procedures for becoming a naturalized US citizen’ among other things.
However, USCIS didn’t provide any financial details on how it plans to pay for improvements. The DHS stated that all the measures specified in USCIS’ document to the White House could be achieved ‘without Congressional approval’.
US visa backlogs
Meanwhile, Biden’s nomination to lead USCIS, Ur Jaddou, is targeting a huge reduction in US visa backlogs. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a nomination meeting recently, Ms Jaddou, vowed to ‘reduce US visa backlogs and ensure the long-term solvency of the beleaguered USCIS’.
She said: “My most immediate responsibilities, if confirmed, will be to return the agency to firm solvency, resolve dramatically increasing processing times and backlogs, and utilize 21st-century tools.”
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