The Changing Landscape of Immigration Legislation in 2020

Since 2017, immigration legislation in the U.S. has been changing at a pace only rivaled by the global weather trends. Even professional analysts struggle to keep pace with shifts in policy, and 2020 shows no sign of this pattern slowing. Below is a list of pressing topics to keep an eye on at the dawn of this new decade.


The Supreme Court Rules on DACA

September of 2017 saw the current administration announce the end of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, arguing that President Obama overreached his executive authority when instituting the program in 2012. This announcement was met with a string of legal challenges, ultimately driving federal appeals judges to insist upon a coherent explanation and cost benefit analysis before termination of DACA could move forward. As a result, final say will pass to the Supreme Court, which is expected to provide a ruling at some point in the spring.


Termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Several Nations

More than 300,000 people reside in the U.S. under a program which provides temporary protection against deportation for foreign nationals originating from nations suffering ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary circumstances. Early in 2017 the Trump administration announced termination of TPS for Salvadoran, Honduran and Haitian immigrants, citing improved conditions in their countries of origin. In response, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, along with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to stop the termination of TPS. A decision is expected in the coming year, the result of which will affect 98% of those currently protected.


The Safe Communities Act

In Massachusetts, the Safe Communities Act, S.1401 (Sen. Jamie Eldridge) and H.3573 (Reps. Ruth Balser and Liz Miranda), aims to curtail interaction between local police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the purpose of re-establishing trust between local community members and law enforcement. One of its main effects would be to end 287 partnerships, which allow local agents to perform certain duties of federal immigration officials. While the bill is unlikely to reach Governor Charlie Baker's desk—and even if it did, he has said he would likely veto the legislation—it nonetheless sets an important national conversation into motion, namely, that of whether so-called sanctuary states should be permitted.


Border Screening at U.S.-Canada Border

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, Iranians and Iranian-Americans are fearful that they may be unfairly targeted by border patrol at the U.S.-Canada border. Earlier this month, more than 200 Iranian-Americans were detained at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Washington state, and—at all border crossings and airports—Iranian-Americans are being subject to intense screenings, heightened scrutiny, and blatant harassment in some cases. Many people fear that this will lead to a crackdown on civil rights…and if a whole group of people from one background can have their rights infringed upon, what will stop the government from infringing upon the rights of others?


Election 2020

Without a doubt the event projected to have the single biggest impact on immigration-related legislation is the election. With platforms as diverse as Bernie Sanders’ and Joe Biden’s vying to take on President Trump, the outcome of the democratic primaries, and the subsequent general election are certain to shift the landscape of U.S. immigration policy in tremendous ways.


The rapid evolution of immigration law is hard to keep track of, so if you’re in a position such that your immigration status might be impacted, or you are hoping to immigrate to the U.S. in the near future, working with a qualified and experienced immigration attorney could make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. Choudhury Law is known as one of Cleveland’s most compassionate and empathetic immigration law firms—ask us a question and we’ll give you an answer for FREE. Just use the brief form below to send your question along to our immigration attorneys.


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