Border Enforcement and Title 42
The first policy on the agenda is Title 42, the result of the public health emergency of COVID-19. Title 42’s restrictions are set to lift when the COVID-19 declarations end on May 11, 2023.
The Public Health Services Act, Title 42, authorizes the CDC to suspend the entry of all individuals in an attempt to protect the health of the public. It was authorized in March 2020 by the Trump Administration and used as a legal way to expel migrants who wished to seek entry into the US at any border point. The Biden Administration continued Title 42’s enforcement but added exceptions for unaccompanied minors and a plan of suspension in 2022.
Court cases that challenged the policy’s suspension kept it in place until the Supreme Court heard the arguments as to whether states could challenge the policy’s suspension. Yet, this became unnecessary when the Biden Administration formally announced that the public health emergency would be lifted on May 11, 2023, ending Title 42’s border restrictions altogether.
Increased Security and Enforcement
When Title 42 ends, the expectation of increased immigration activity means the need for enhanced border enforcement. The Biden Administration outlines its plans for this action in the new federal immigration policies.
The intent is to address overall healthcare needs while continuing to work to reduce unlawful crossings by increasing security and expanding legal avenues in which individuals can migrate into the country. More resources are allocated for the enforcement of security and legal entry.
The DACA Program
Children brought into the US by undocumented immigrants are here unlawfully. However, the government established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program to establish how to handle these individuals as they seek education and become adults.
Current orders state that new DACA applications will not be processed. However, existing applications remain valid and renewable. Undocumented immigrants who entered as children are safe from removal proceedings and can obtain work authorization documents in renewable, two-year periods.
Individuals who are eligible must have been under 16 before they entered the US and before June 15, 2007. They must also have been under 31 by June 15, 2012 and be enrolled in school or completed high school or its equivalent unless they are a veteran. As of June 15, 2012, if they had no lawful status and met the other criteria, they could be approved under the DACA program.
People with DACA status do not have a lawful status in the country or any avenues to seek citizenship. While they’re safe from removal action, this is temporary. They can’t obtain federally-funded benefits like healthcare through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act.
The final 2022 rule to continue the DACA program largely as it was took effect on October 31, 2022, but remains in ongoing litigation. Court orders prevent any new initial requests but do allow for renewals and employment authorization requests.
Should the district courts deem the DACA program to be unlawful, any individuals under this status will lose the protection, including their work authorizations. and possibly become subject to deportation. This will result in an economic hit as employers will not be able to keep individuals who lose their work authorization.
Public Charge Rule
Public charge regulations that took effect on December 23, 2022, have had consequences that visa holders continue to be concerned about. Outreach efforts aimed at fear reduction and education of the changes to immigrant families remain ongoing.
Through immigration policies, entry to the US or LPR adjustments can be denied by federal officials if the person is deemed to be a public charge. Changes returned to old guidelines in which noncash benefits, like Medicaid coverage, are not considered in the public charge determination.
Families under legal visas who worried they would be deported or family members applying for visas would be denied if they applied for public assistance continue to hold this fear. Education on the new changes is necessary.
Ultimately, the USCIS immigration program is in place because foreign workers and US employers who hire them make a positive impact on the country. Federal immigration policies must balance this fact with the safety of its US citizens in a time when illegal entry and fraud remain rampant.
It’s a necessary reality that makes applying for a visa challenging. But working with legal immigration experts like Visa2US can streamline the process and improve your chances of obtaining your H-1B Visa. Contact us today to see how federal immigration changes may impact your visa status or to get started with your H-1B visa petition.