The Trump administration has pushed to finalize a slate of immigration changes since the election in the last effort to impose more restrictions before President-elect Joe Biden assumes the presidency on Jan. 20, despite the fact that Biden has pledged to eventually roll back many of Trump’s immigration policies. The recent regulations are the last of more than 400 Trump-era policy changes negatively affecting legal and illegal immigration.
Congress may use the oversight tool to eliminate some Trump policies related to immigration and some of the major anticipated changes include:
1. The Trump administration in November announced major changes to the test immigrants must pass to become U.S. citizens, making the exam harder and twice as long as the previous one. The administration first announced that it planned to revise the test in July, and the changes went into effect on December 1, 2020. Some of the changes have been criticized as biased against immigrant populations.
2. Trump’s Justice Department also recently finalized major increases to the fees for certain immigration court appeals and applications, which are set to take effect a day before Biden is inaugurated.
3. Other rules would more than double the number of people who must provide biometric screening, like fingerprints, iris scans, and voiceprints, to the U.S. government, including sponsors of immigrants, regardless of citizenship status
Some rules have been set aside by court order and the government must either initiate the process of issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking, obtain comments and then issue the final rule based on the receipt of comments. Other rules such as the Strengthening the H–1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program, 85 FR 63918, 12/7/20 have been struck down by the Court on 12/1/2020.
Still, other regulations such as the DOS Proposed Rule on Intercountry Adoptions, 85 FR 74492, 11/20/20 (comment period closes on 1/19/21) will be harder to make final due to the fact comments have not been received.
In order for the new administration to overturn the prior rules, a new policy memo would have to be issued or the regulation would have to rescind the same under the action of the Congressional Review Act.