Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win! What does this mean for immigration law?

President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris’ win was certified by the electoral college on Monday, December 14, 2020. All of the Trump administrations attempts to invalidate the results of the 2020 presidential election have been unsuccessful. I am very excited as a woman, a person of color, and an immigration attorney there is a lot to celebrate! Although the country secured a big win, a sweeping reform in immigration law is unlikely to happen. 

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the body of law governing current immigration policy. It was originally passed in 1952 and has had several reforms over the decades of its existence.  Immigration law is primarily controlled by the legislative branch of government. President Elect Biden has vowed to make many changes that will be within his executive authority, such as protecting the DACA initiative, ending detrimental asylum policies that restricted asylum from Mexico and Guatemala, and ending the public charge rule just to name a few. However, a sweeping immigration reform, which is desperately needed in my opinion is unlikely to happen as long as Republicans hold a majority in the senate. Georgia will be holding run-off elections for both senate positions in January. Even if democrats were to pull off a senate victory, immigration reform is a long shot. 

 Although immigration reform is unlikely to happen, a Biden-Harris administration is certain to change attitudes in the Department of Homeland Security. As an immigration attorney, I am hopeful that this change will mean quicker adjudications with fewer requests for additional evidence. For now, we keep working towards a more perfect union.

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