In a memo released on January 20, 2021, the Biden administration requested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to review all United States immigration enforcement policies. In addition to freezing previous deportation policy and putting a pause on most removals for 100 days, the memo also rescinded six immigration policies from the previous administration. Most notable among these is the cancellation of 2017 Notices to Appear (NTA) policy, which expanded the scope of which foreign nationals were placed in removal proceedings.
Policies Rescinded by the Memo
The memo, “Review of and Interim Revision to Civil Immigration Enforcement and Removal Policies and Priorities,” focuses on reviewing and revising US immigration policy to prioritize certain types of enforcement above others.
Most notably, the memo rescinds Trump-era Notices to Appear (NTA) policy. Notices to Appear (NTA) are formal charging documents issued by DHS which place foreign nationals in removal proceedings. Under the 2017 policy, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) could issue NTAs to foreign nationals whose applications for immigration benefits were denied if they lacked lawful status at the time of the denial. With the recission, the Biden administration reverts to Obama-era policy under which NTAs will be issued in more limited circumstances.
The DHS will recommend revised immigration enforcement policies no later than April 30, 2021, or 100 days from the memo’s release date. The Chugh, LLP team will closely monitor new developments to Biden immigration policy and issue updates as soon as they are available.