Joe Biden entered the oval office with a robust immigration plan. He is following an administration that took pride in their anti-immigration policies and he promised to implement an “immigration policy that reflects our highest values as a nation.” After his first 100 days in office there have been many policy and regulatory announcements, however changes have been very slow to be implemented.
Just Security, at the New York University School of Law, features an op-ed by AILA Senior Director of Government Relations Greg Chen, in which he argues that, while President Biden took several swift actions on immigration in his first week as president, 100 days later, no headway has been made on any major immigration reform.
We agree with this sentiment. During President Biden’s first 100 days in office his administration quickly addressed politically expedient issues. Those included child separation, travel bans, and DACA, all vitally important. However, core issues such as the backlogs and uncertainty regarding petitions and applications remain at USCIS.
The Biden administration has not addressed the growing waiting times for immigration benefits at USCIS. There are spouses of U.S. citizens waiting 6-9 months for work authorization cards. There are businesses in need of vital personnel that can not begin projects because their workforce is depleted. An effective overhaul of the U.S. immigration system does not require an Act of Congress, it requires bold leadership to address the stystemic failures of our Immigration Services.