On July 8, 2020, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's

presidential campaign released a proposed policy platform that it

drafted with members of Senator Bernie Sanders'

staff.1This proposed policy platform has been submitted

to the Democratic National Committee, and presents a series of

objectives and proposals addressing a broad range of fields,

including immigration.2 This article will provide a

summary of the those immigration objectives and proposals released

by the Biden campaign.


At its most basic level, the proposed policies issued by the

Biden campaign reverse the Trump Administration's immigration

policies. For example, the Biden campaign proposes to immediately

rescind the Trump Administration's immigration proclamations

banning travel and immigration to the U.S., and to invite those who

have been denied a visa to re-apply. The policy platform also

includes provisions for reinstating and protecting Deferred Action

for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients.3 The policy

platform also proposes to remove certain restrictions that

currently make it difficult for foreign nationals to apply for


Provisions in the policy platform recognize that the U.S.

immigration system needs fundamental reform, and that what is

required is an immigration system that embraces immigrants and

aligns with U.S. values of caring for those who are less fortunate.

For example, the policy platform seeks to eliminate the imposition

of the three (3)-year and ten (10)-year bars currently applicable

to those foreign nationals who have accumulated a certain number of

days of unlawful presence in the U.S., and then depart the U.S. The

policy platform also has provisions that would end workplace and

community raids. “A 21st century immigration

system that honors our values is an essential prerequisite not just

to recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great

Depression,” the document states forthrightly, “but to

strengthening our democracy and guaranteeing America's

long-term economic competitiveness.”

Specific Proposals

In an effort to craft an immigration policy that focuses on

compassion and embracing immigrants, the Biden Campaign has

proposed the following:

Rescind Current Policies and Practices

  • Reinstate DACA and expand the

    eligibility criteria;

  • Immediately terminate the Trump

    Administration's travel and immigration bans;

  • Take urgent action to rescind

    executive orders issued by the Trump Administration and uphold U.S.

    commitment to offer refuge to asylum seekers;

  • Enact a 100-day moratorium on

    deportations of people in the U.S. and conduct internal study of

    current practices;

  • Direct Department of Homeland

    Security's (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

    to undertake a review of the Trump Administration's

    immigration policies;

  • Direct the Office of Inspectors

    General (OIG) to conduct an investigation into immigration

    enforcement spending, detention determinations, detention

    conditions and practices, including whether there are policies that

    are discriminatory in nature;

  • Rescind the Trump

    Administration's new Public Charge Rule, and work with U.S.

    lawmakers to ensure immigration laws are not used to discriminate

    against immigrants based on their wealth, race, country of origin,

    language abilities, sexual orientation, etc.;

  • End the Trump Administration's

    ‘Zero Tolerance' policy and prioritize the criminal

    prosecution of human traffickers, smugglers, and others engaged in

    serious crimes;

  • Re-establish prior asylum procedures

    at the U.S. border in order to ensure foreign nationals are given

    Due Process;

  • Eliminate “performance”

    quotas for immigration judges;

  • End the politicization of the

    denaturalization process by eliminating offices created by the

    Trump Administration to denaturalize citizens and make sure this

    extraordinary power is used only in the most egregious cases;

  • Ensure that Immigration and Customs

    Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel

    abide by professional standards and are held accountable for

    inhumane and unlawful treatment;

Reverse the Trump Administration's politicization of

immigration courts and work toward making immigration courts more

independent, and free from influence and interference.

Provide a Path to Citizenship

  • Create a path for U.S. citizenship

    for the nearly eleven million people who are undocumented living in

    the U.S., who have contributing to U.S. society;

  • Support legislation to provide legal

    status and fast-track access to Green Cards, with an eventual path

    to citizenship, to agricultural workers based on prior work history

    in the field of agriculture;

  • Fast-track legal status for

    undocumented workers who have been essential to the pandemic

    response and recovery efforts, including health care workers and


  • Reaffirm U.S. commitment to diversity

    by preserving preferences for diversity in the current immigration


  • Pursue legislative reform to provide

    a pathway to citizenship for TPS and Deferred Enforcement Departure

    (DED) holders who have been in the United States for an extended

    period of time.

Keep Families Together

  • Reaffirm family migration as a

    cornerstone of U.S. immigration policy;

  • Prioritize family reunification by

    eliminating family-based green card backlogs and reforming the

    system to speed up family-based visas;

  • Ensure the equal treatment of

    same-sex couples and their children in the application of all

    federal programs, services, and benefits, including immigration and


Reform Immigration Agencies

  • Establish a Border Oversight Panel,

    as well as Border Community Liaisons in each Border Patrol


  • Ensure that the Office for Civil

    Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) division within DHS has the

    authority to investigate issues within the agency and is able to

    protect people that come forward;

  • Protect immigration judges'

    right to unionize by halting the Trump Administration's

    efforts to decertify the National Association of Immigration


  • Empower the Chief Information Officer

    to establish guidelines regarding the use of biometric surveillance

    and information sharing technologies to meet the standards of

    privacy specified in the Fair Information Practice Principles,

    including: transparency and accounting regarding the use of

    technologies; informing individuals of the use of technology and

    existence of records; individual access to records and the

    opportunity to correct inaccuracies; ensuring that records are

    accurate, relevant, timely, and complete; and that all systems are

    audited regularly for compliance with these standards;

  • Marshal federal resources, through

    the reestablishment of the Task Force for New Americans, to support

    community efforts to welcome immigrants;

  • Require a one-year timeline for ICE

    and CBP to institute best practice policies and procedures

    regarding the use of body cameras;

  • Ensure CBP & ICE enforcement is

    not used to chill First Amendment rights to free speech and


  • Provide discretionary funding for

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to address

    backlogs, and ensure that, going forward, USCIS can adjudicate

    petitions and applications within six months of filing;

  • Invest in technology and

    infrastructure at U.S. ports of entry and change the culture to

    emphasize “customer service” for travelers coming into

    the U.S.;

  • Study best practices in immigration

    governance and review whether making USCIS an independent agency

    would enhance or undercut immigration protections or national


Improve Enforcement and Detention

  • Ensure access to counsel and

    establish federal funding to ensure that individuals in DHS custody

    have meaningful opportunities to secure counsel;

  • Protect sensitive locations, like

    places of worship, schools, health care facilities, benefit

    offices, and Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices, and

    prohibit enforcement actions at courthouses that deter access to


  • Reverse the historic practice of

    using local law enforcement to take on the role of immigration


  • Direct the U.S. Department of Justice

    (DOJ) to drop litigation and other inherited cases that are

    misaligned with an immigration system that values diversity, family

    relationships, and other core principles;

  • End the use of for-profit detention


  • Prioritize the use of DHS facilities,

    case management systems, and community-based alternatives to

    detention for migrants who do not present a threat to public


  • Detention of children should be

    restricted to the shortest possible time;

  • Reintroduce discretion into the

    immigration system so that judges and adjudicators can weigh all

    facts and make just and fair decisions;

  • Expand global efforts to register and

    process refugees for resettlement;

  • Double the number of immigration

    judges, court staff, and interpreters to remove the backlog of

    immigration cases and support timely and fair adjudications for

    asylum matters and other cases;

  • Reverse policies that prevent victims

    of gang and domestic violence, as well as members of the Lesbian,

    Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community,

    from being eligible to apply for asylum;

  • Protect and expand the existing

    asylum system and other humanitarian protections, including

    provisions in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization

    Act (TVPRA) and the Flores Settlement Agreement for arriving

    unaccompanied minors.

The above items are just some of the highlights of the Biden

campaign's proposed immigration policy. There may be

additions and modifications to the proposed immigration policy in

the future, especially once the Democratic Party's platform

is decided upon at the convention. Clearly, the immigration policy

proposals issued by the Biden Campaign are in stark contrast to the

immigration policies under the Trump Administration, and would be

regarded favorably by many immigrants, the business community, as

well as others. Immigration is likely to be a major topic of this

year's presidential election, and it is important to

understand the differences between the immigration policies of the

two presidential candidates, because depending on the candidate who

wins the upcoming presidential election, it will have a profound

impact on the future of U.S. immigration.

1 “Biden, Sanders unity task forces release policy

recommendations.” Politico (July 8, 2020):


See also “6 Takeaways from the Biden-Sanders Joint Task Force

Proposals.” New York Times (July 9, 2020):


2 The entire document can be accessed at


3 These are foreign nationals who entered the U.S.

illegally with their parents when they were children. These DACA

recipients are sometimes referred to as


Originally published 15 July, 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general

guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought

about your specific circumstances.

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