What’s Ahead for U.S. Immigration in 2021?

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what’s ahead for U.S. immigration law in 2021.

Want to know more? Keep on watching for more information.


As we enter the Biden administration, many of our readers want to know what’s possible in the world of immigration law. What might President Biden do within his first 100 days in office and how might his decisions impact immigration?

We anticipate that U.S. immigration policies will experience an overhaul under the Biden administration beginning on January 20th when he takes office. His administration will likely focus on undoing many of the harmful and restrictive policies passed during the last four years by President Donald Trump. We believe that litigation will slowly die down as the need to challenge President Trump’s policies disappears.

Biden’s policies in general will favor the expansion of temporary work visas for highly skilled professionals which we believe will benefit U.S. companies seeking to hire more foreign talent.

Biden’s transition to the presidency will also have the likely effect of encouraging many families to begin working on their immigration processes to legalize their status in the United States.

We believe we will also see more and more start up founders, creatives, investors, and other individuals come out of the shadows who wish to build their future in the United States as they see that restrictions are being lifted, and policies will begin to favor innovation and competition.

Unlike his predecessor, Joe Biden believes that immigrants make up an important part of the fabric of our society, enriching our economy, and contributing to innovation in the United States. He will welcome immigrants in our communities and reassert America’s commitment to opening our doors to asylum-seekers, refugees, Dreamers, and many other vulnerable immigrant groups.

In doing so, Biden will enact policies that will help immigrants positively contribute to America’s economy and society.

How will Biden do this?

The President has many powers that grant him the authority to make changes to U.S. policy and immigration law. He may bring about changes in the world of immigration in the form of policy memorandums passed by his chosen DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as Presidential Proclamations.

New final rules may also be adopted by DHS by publication in the Federal Register, following all of the rules of the Administrative Procedure Act (notice and comment period) which will allow for the enforcement of new policies that will reverse those previously passed by the Trump administration.

Can Biden Invalidate Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052?

Yes. Once Biden becomes President on January 20th, he can invalidate Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 by showing that the entry of those affected is no longer detrimental to the U.S. economy. He may also invalidate other Presidential Proclamations passed under the Trump administration such as the Schengen visa ban and the Muslim travel bans.

What has Biden said he will do for immigration during his first 100 days in office?

Biden has said that within his first 100 days in office he will:

  • Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s policies that have separated parents from children at the border, including ending prosecution of parents for minor immigration violations, and prioritizing family reunification.
  • Immediately reverse the Trump administration’s public charge rule
  • End the “national emergency” imposed by the Trump administration to enable the Department of Defense to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border
  • Protect Dreamers and their families, by reinstating the DACA program and exploring all legal options to protect families from inhumane separation
  • Restore and defend the naturalization process for green card holders by removing roadblocks to naturalization, addressing the application backlog and rejecting imposition of unreasonable fees
  • End the Trump administration’s detrimental asylum policies
  • Rescind the travel and refugee bans also known as the “Muslim bans” by the Trump administration
  • Review Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for vulnerable populations and introduce a bill that will allow TPS/DED holders who have been in the country for an extended period of time, a path to citizenship
  • End the mismanagement of the asylum system to ensure asylum applications are processing fairly and efficiently
  • Increase humanitarian resources at the border through a network of organizations including faith-based shelters, non-governmental aid organizations, legal non-profits, and other organizations
  • End prolonged detention and investment in a case management program, by supporting the Flores agreement which prevents the detention of children indefinitely
  • Restore sensible enforcement prioritizes targeting threats to public safety and national security, and not workers and their families

For more about Joe Biden’s proposed policies on immigration please click here.

What about H-1B visas?

Much work needs to be done to improve adjudication of H-1B visas. This visa category came under fire by the Trump administration resulting in an astronomical rate of visa denials and requests for evidence. The Biden administration must now work to make the application process fair and efficient for all parties and reduce the high rate of denials.

Students & OPT

Regarding students and OPT we hope that the Biden administration will implement new policies to allow more students to work in the United States after graduation. The OPT program needs to be made more streamlined and effective so that students can have the opportunity to contribute to the American workforce shortly after finishing their studies.

EAD for H-4 Spouses

It will be interesting to see whether the Biden administration will implement policies that will make it possible for H-4 dependent spouses to receive employment authorization permission on a timely basis. Unfortunately, during the Trump administration many H-4 spouses were unable to obtain their EAD documents and with that they lost their livelihoods. We hope that the Biden administration will improve the current system and help H-4 spouses contribute to their households and the economy positively.

Embassies and Consulates

In the future we hope to see the Department of State focusing more on adjudication of pending visas, and less on the enforcement of damaging policies that were previously adopted during the Trump administration and designed to keep immigrants out.

Reopening Embassies and Consulates worldwide remains a top priority given that thousands of immigrants and non-immigrants have been stuck in legal limbo with no guarantee on visa issuance in the near future. We remain optimistic that the Biden administration will more effectively resolve these issues and order Embassies and Consulates to begin reopening interview slots for applicants.

To learn more about Biden’s stance on various immigration issues please click here.

Questions? If you have immigration questions and would like to schedule a consultation, please call 619-819-9204 or text 619-483-4549.

Helpful Links


Need more immigration updates? We have created a brand new facebook group to address the impact of the new executive order and other changing developments in immigration related to COVID-19. Follow us there.

For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.