President-elect Joe Biden’s efforts to reverse President Donald Trump’s immigration executive actions may not be as simple as issuing a contrary edict, as court rulings show that the government should consider both the scope of authority as well as underlying reasons for actions taken.
As Trump learned when he tried and failed to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Biden will need to address the rationales behind policies like the travel and visa bans in order to undo them.
“It used to be that you could overturn a policy in the same way that the policy was written. So if it was a policy memo, you could write a policy memo, a regulation for a regulation,” said SharvariDalal-Dheini, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
But now, as the DACA litigation revealed, considering the potential harm that could come from withdrawing policies or programs is also in play.
The Trump administration in the final days of 2020 extended the April and June travel bans that bar green card applicants and certain temporary visa holders from entering the U.S. and its memorandum on visa sanctions. He cited high unemployment rates to justify the visa and green card bans.
Because those dynamics are still in flux, Biden will have to address those justifications, which could politically be challenging for him, Dalal-Dheini said.
Those who support Trump’s policies could argue there’s potential harm from Biden’s executive actions too, such as protecting U.S. workers, said New York immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta.
The Trump administration gave up trying to terminate DACA, after the Supreme Court found the government didn’t adequately consider its options or the effect ending the program would have on participants who have benefited from living and working in the U.S. despite coming to the country illegally as children.
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