The Fate of Biden’s Immigration Policies Await Georgia Senate Runoff Elections

Posted on 11/12/20

President-elect Joe Biden is proposing some of the most progressive immigration policies in the modern-era but most of it hinges on the two senate runoff elections in Georgia. The control of the Senate remains unknown even after the presidential election results project a Joe Biden presidency. As it currently stands, 48 Senate seats are controlled by Democrats while 50 are controlled by Senate Republicans. If both seats fall into the Democrats favor, the Republicans hope for a divided congress would fall short as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the key swing vote in the 50-50 senate.

Runoff elections are not part of Connecticut Senate races but in Georgia, the unusual requirement that candidates receive at least a majority of the vote to win the election leaves a double-barrelled runoff election almost certain even after a recount of the state. If no candidate wins at least 50% plus one vote, the election falls into a runoff where the top two finishers advance. Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler will compete for one senate seat while Republican Senator David Perdue competes against Democrat Jon Ossoff. On January 5th both seats will be decided in the runoff election, leaving Biden’s agenda in the hands of both Senate races.

The balance of power lies in Georgia, and without a divided Senate, the Biden administration will have a stagnant agenda as Republicans have been notorious for prolonging confirmations of bureaucratic officials and leaving controversial policies without Senate debate. With a divided Senate, Kamala Harris will be able to push forward key immigration policies that the Biden campaign has promised. Although some executive orders can be repealed rather quickly, key policies will need to go through the Senate. The Trump administration has blown a significant challenge to legal immigration over the past four years, with nearly 50% of legal immigration reduced in the past year alone. The Biden administration will have their work cut out when it comes to repealing hundreds of immigration orders. The analogy here is that the President has taken deep control over certain immigration policies, the border wall wasn’t just built with steel but with paper as well. Significant memorandums, executive orders, and policies have in effect limited all forms of immigration. Shutting out immigrants based on their wealth status, controlling the fate of thousands of Dreamers, and requiring asylum seekers to “Remain in Mexico” as they wait for their court appearance.

Some actions to cut down on President Trump’s control on immigration will be swift, like the ban on predominantly Muslim countries and refugee intakes that were significantly reduced under the president’s administration. But other changes may take months or even years with a Senate controlled by Republicans. The Biden administration will also have numerous legal challenges that would have to go through a 6-3 constitutionalist Supreme Court. As his tenure comes to a close, the President has signed a staggering 400 executive orders on immigration leaving immigrants in the dust.

Joe Biden’s Plan For Immigrants

President-elect Biden is also planning on extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Obama-era program shields undocumented immigrant minors from deportations and offers renewable work permits to minors who came here illegally. The reinstatement of the program to its original intent and allowing additional applications will impact thousands of immigrants who were ineligible to apply since 2017 when the Trump administration tried to stop the program. But many actions were taken through the means of regulation which may take longer than expected for favorable outcomes. One of the most controversial is perhaps the “public charge rule” which in effect discourages millions of potential green card applicants from using any public benefits in fear their application would be denied. The rule, as a wealth test, discriminates against the most vulnerable. The Biden Administration will need to work diligently to stop the program. The 46th president-elect promises to send legislation to the floor of the Senate in his first 100 days that would offer nearly eleven million undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. The Biden agenda will face hardline partisan battles as the fate of the Senate lies in the runoff elections in Georgia. If the Republicans continue their control of the Senate, the Biden agenda will be limited in all aspects.

Regardless of where you stand on immigration, our office prioritizes putting facts first. That requires an unbiased analysis of each immigration policy through the lens of our legal professionals. Although the Biden Administration has yet to take control, our firm will remain committed to advocating for the rights of thousands of undocumented immigrants throughout our nation. Rest assured each President’s immigration policies will receive the same amount of due diligence and criticism when necessary. When immigrating to the United States we know the challenges you face including discrimination and lack of support. Our firm offers a diverse range of perspectives on immigration, each team member offers their skills in unique ways to ensure your case is a priority. We will advocate on your behalf no matter what it takes, ensuring personable results, and remaining committed to your ultimate satisfaction.

As a top-rated Immigration and Personal Injury law firm in the United States, Connecticut residents can rest knowing their case is in the right hands. Attorney James A. Welcome works directly on each case, offering his direct and honest opinion on each matter. Your willingness to work with us will be met with decades of experience in all matters legal. To start your journey with one of Connecticut’s most highly rated immigration law firms, reach out at (203) 753-7300. It’s never too late to start your pathway to legalization, let us help.