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By Dianne Stewart
Following the November 2020 US election, the Biden White House has made it clear that it is supporting immigration reform and has embarked on a number of initiatives to make this happen. For example, it has stipulated a change from the phrase “illegal immigrant” to “non-citizen” and immigrants will no longer be referred to as “aliens”. The White House told various immigration agencies, like Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) on April 19, 2021, that “while they will enforce our nation’s immigration laws, they will also maintain the dignity of every individual with whom we interact.” This initiative has been well received by immigrant organizations, activists and immigrants themselves.
President Biden immediately appointed Alejandro Mayorkas, a previous Director at the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (US CIS), as his new US Secretary of Homeland Security, himself an immigrant from Cuba who fled the Castro regime with his parents as a child. The White House is keenly aware that there is an enormous backlog of cases mounting up at the US CIS and US Consulates & Embassies around the world, and they are determined to alleviate these backlogs. They have also lifted bans from various countries, which the previous administration put in place, but all these issues will take time to resolve, which has been exacerbated by the Pandemic.
According to The Pew Research Center, “The Biden administration is acting on a number of fronts to reverse Trump-era restrictions on immigration to the United States. The steps include plans to boost refugee admissions, preserving deportation relief for unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children (DACA), and not enforcing the new “public charge” rule that denies green cards to immigrants who might use public benefits like Medicaid. Read the full report here.
Attorneys, who work closely with our PathwayUSA clients, who have been severely impacted by the last four years of bans and recent Covid restrictions, are encouraged by improvements from the Biden White House. Essential workers like farm and healthcare workers, and family reunification visas are slowly getting processed at Embassies and Consulates, including in SA. Unfortunately, Covid-19 visa processing backlogs are going to take time to get back to normal. Tourist visas have also been on hold during the Pandemic. Some Green Card DV Lottery winners in the last few years, have been part of recent class-action lawsuits to compel the Dept. of State to process their visas and many have been successful.
Recent rumors and following a lawsuit challenging the EB-5 investment amount of $900K, were finally squashed after US Secretary Mayorkas signed a ratification of the investment increase, and the investment amount will remain at the $900K level moving forward. EB-5 Investors in hospitality, logistics and housing industries will be pleased to know that those areas are showing big upticks as the US vaccinates the population and travel and spending in these areas increase exponentially. During COVID, online shopping boomed and now the travel industry is bracing and preparing for unprecedented growth over the next 12 months.
President Biden committed to vaccinating 100 Million Americans in his first 100 days in office and exceeded that with 225 million Covid-19 doses given, with 26% of all Americans now fully vaccinated. This is a big step forward to normalizing life in the United States.
New immigration legislation called the ‘U.S Citizenship Act of 2021’ has been proposed by The White House and is headed to Congress. Read about it here
In addition, new improved legislation related to the EB-5 program called the ‘EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021’ is also on the cards for 2021. Read about it here
- Dianne Stewart will be in South Africa from May 6-27, 2021 meeting with clients who need reliable information regarding moving to America. She is the President of PathwayUSA, a concierge relocation company that has successfully moved many South African families to America since 2006. Details of her visit at www.pathwayusa.co.za Download a FREE 12-page Guide to planning your relocation here.