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US Immigration Travel Ban & Updates [FEB 2021]
Biden’s First Weeks in Office
There are a number of things that happened during Biden’s first weeks into presidency. In this article, our NJ immigration attorney discusses DACA, paused deportations, revoked travel bans for Muslim and African countries, extended DED, and suspended enrollment in MPP.
DACA Remains in Place
President Biden has said that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA will remain in place. This is good news since when Chad Wolf resigned as the acting head of DHS, he tried to pass his policies in a different position within DHS, one of which was to end DACA. Not only is DACA in place, but you can also apply for Advance Parole if you have DACA. This might help you get a legal entry to the US which helps when you apply for a legal status.
Deportations Paused for 100 Days
Save for a few exceptions, deportations were paused for 100 days. There was a lawsuit fighting this filed in Texas claiming that this would cause irreparable harm to Texas. The Judge said he thought it would cause harm, so he issued a nationwide injunction on 26 January for two weeks. This means that deportations can continue.
This is an interesting set of circumstances and we will be following it as it develops. If you have a deportation order or order of removal, we highly advise that you do get in touch with a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible.
Revoked Travel Bans for Muslim and African Countries
Travel bans barring entry for individuals from Muslim and African countries were revoked. But there have also been more restrictions on travel into the US due to COVID so be aware that there is still limited entry into the US.
Extended Deferred Enforced Departure
Another immigration update to take note of is that DED or Deferred Enforced Departure was extended for Liberian nationals until June 30, 2022.
Suspended Migrant Protection Protocol Enrollment
Enrollment in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP or Stay in Mexico) were suspended. Despite that, so far, no news on how their entry will be handled were released – especially with COVID limiting entry.
Review DHS Policies
Biden has also issued a review of all DHS policies and he’s shifted the focus of ICE from enforcement back to protection.
January 29th was the day for President Biden to focus on immigration changes. He created task forces to review family reunification, and Public Charge. His goal, he said, is to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including the naturalization process.
COVID-19 Travel Ban Issued by President Biden
On January 25, 2021, President Biden issued COVID travel ban which extends indefinitely. This impacts travelers flying in from many countries. For example, those flying from China and Iran were already prohibited from entering the US.
The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the following areas during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, is suspended and limited:
- Schengen Area, which includes 26 European countries;
- The United Kingdom, excluding overseas territories outside of Europe;
- The Republic of Ireland;
- The Federative Republic of Brazil; and
- The Republic of South Africa.
Who is excluded from the suspension?
The following are the only ones who can enter the US even from those countries. Note that the travel ban does not apply to land crossings.
- Green card holders.
- Any non-citizen national of the US.
- Any non-citizen who is the spouse of a green card holder or US citizen.
- Any non-citizen who is the parents of a green card holder or USC who is under 21 and unmarried.
- Any non-citizen who is the sibling of a US citizen or green card holder as long as the noncitizen is unmarried and under 21.
- Any noncitizen who is a child, foster child or ward of a USC or green card holder.
- Any noncitizen traveling as requested by the US government to help with COVID.
- Any noncitizen with a C-1 (transit visa through the US), D (crew member of commercial vessel), or C-1/D visa (combination of both who have to board a ship or an airplane as crew members but have to travel through the US to get to the ship).
- Any noncitizen seeking entry under a number of visas (A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3, E-1, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, and certain NATO visas).
- Noncitizen armed forces members or non-citizens who are spouses or children of armed force members.
- And others who may serve a national interest by entering the US.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify for these exceptions, contact our experienced New Jersey immigration attorney today.
Required COVID Testing
The CDC started requiring COVID testing of people flying into the US internationally starting on January 26, 2021, and all passengers 2 years and older must wear masks on all airplanes, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-share vehicles.
Will more countries be added to the travel ban list?
With the COVID variants mutating, we may see more countries added to this list before we see it be reduced or go away. There are two reasons for this.
The Trump administration had a terrible plan for combatting COVID.
The previous administration did not fund the states enough to be able to handle their own distribution, and they did not create a federal roll out of distribution. The previous administration also did not order enough of the vaccine so there are now shortages.
With the virus mutating, it is not clear if the current vaccines are able to protect us.
Scientists are worried it may be like the flu shot, where they can only target some of the strains of the flu each year. If we allow people in from anywhere and the strains mutate and vaccines are not effective against it, we are starting over again with the COVID problem. That’s we can expect to see more countries added to the list.
Contact A New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Today!
If you’re applying for an immigration benefit, it’s important that you discuss your case with an immigration lawyer. Our experienced New Jersey immigration attorney at Andres Mejer Law can help you understand the immigration changes and assist you throughout your immigration process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!