The Trump era comes to a close on Jan. 20, 2021, but even with the clock ticking down on his one-term administration, The Donald and his xenophobic pipers are rushing to ensure they push through last minute hardline immigration policies.
On Dec. 30, 2020, the Trump administration announced it had extended a pandemic-related ban on green cards and work visas to large groups of applicants, including for high-tech workers, seasonal workers and managers of multinational corporations, through March 31, 2021.
Through a proclamation issued 20 days before Inauguration Day, Trump ordered a three-month extension of the visa restrictions, which were first enacted in April as a ban on some prospective immigrants and expanded in June to also halt several temporary work programs.
Trump has said the limits are necessary to prevent new immigrants and temporary workers from competing with Americans for jobs during the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The new proclamation comes as Joe Biden has promised to repeal many of Trump’s anti-immigration measures in the first 100 days as the Donald seems bent on upping the ante and increasing his anti-immigration policies to keep the incoming administration extremely busy.
The restrictions halt several temporary visas used by people abroad to work in the U.S., including the H-1B program that is popular in the tech sector and H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers. Cultural exchange J-1 visas for au pairs and other short-term workers; visas for spouses of H-1B and H-2B holders; and L visas for companies to relocate employees to the U.S. will continue to be suspended as well.
Trump’s order also continues the suspension of the diversity visa lottery, a program he has frequently criticized, that allows people from underrepresented countries, many of them in Africa, to move to the U.S.
Advocates have already called on Biden to repeal the measure soon after he is sworn in.
“Too many families have been separated and too many dreams have been crushed by this unlawful ban,” said Karen Tumlin, the founder of the Justice Action Center and a lawyer challenging the visa restrictions. “We will continue to challenge this ban in court and urge the Biden-Harris administration to repeal all of President Trump’s xenophobic presidential proclamations, including this ban, on day one of their administration.”
Biden’s transition team has yet to say if they will, but there is no doubt that they will have their hands full since, by one count, Trump has made more than 400 immigration policy changes over the course of one short term.
Now it’s up to Biden to repeal these changes and rechart a new course and ensure he keeps his campaign promises, especially to immigrant voters, including those from the Caribbean, who delivered the win for him and Kamala Harris to turn back the draconian anti-immigrant policies of Donald Trump. One can only hope and pray Joe Biden and Harris remembers this on Jan. 20, 2021.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.