Administrative Actions on Immigration Since 2017
Since taking office in 2017, this administration has steadily rolled out a series of regulatory and policy changes that make it more difficult to navigate our already complicated immigration system and completely closes the door to many of those seeking a better life in this country. Below is a summary of administrative policy and regulatory changes proposed since January 2017 with links to more resources. This list is not guaranteed to include every proposed rule change. We will be adding information regularly.
For more resources on administrative actions, see this report from the Migration Policy Institute “Dismantling and Reconstructing the U.S. Immigration System: A Catalog of Changes under the Trump Presidency”
Last Updated: March, 2020
Rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): In September, 2017, the administration announced it would be ending DACA. This decision was immediately challenged, with multiple courts issuing injunctions to keep DACA in effect. USCIS is currently only processing renewal applications for DACA and will not accept first-time applications. The Supreme Court heard the case on Nov. 12, 2019 and will make a decision by June, 2020. Read more about the possible outcomes of litigation.
Ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Beginning in 2017, the administration has systematically announced it was ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for countries as their renewal deadlines approached. As of November 1, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced it will automatically be extending employment authorization and other documentation for individuals granted TPS from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Instead of expiring in 2020, this will automatically extend status and work authorization through January 4, 2021. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has further information available about the status of TPS.
Reducing Refugee Limit: The refugee limit for Fiscal Year 2020, beginning October 1, 2019, has been reduced to 18,000, a 40% decrease from the previous year’s cap of 30,000 refugees. The administration also announced an executive order that creates options for local jurisdictions to reject refugees and opt out of accepting refugees.
“Migrant Protection Protocols” – Adopted in January, 2019, this program skips the credible fear screening for migrants seeking asylum at the US-Mexico border, and sends some migrants to wait in Mexico for the duration of their US court proceedings.
“Third Country Refuge” – Requires that all asylum seekers that enter the U.S. on or after July 16, 2019 must seek refuge in a country they travelled through before they will be considered for asylum in the U.S. On Sept. 11, 2019, the Supreme Court allowed the rule to go in to effect through the final court decision.
HUD Rule on Mixed-status Families: On May 10, 2019, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that would prohibit “mixed-status” families from living in public and other subsidized housing. The public comment period for this rule ended July 9, 2019. HUD will now draft a final rule and respond to the more than 30,000 submitted comments. Once the final rule is published, groups may pursue litigation.
DHS Fee Waiver Change: On Sept. 28, 2018 DHS proposed a rule would disallow providing proof of receipt of a means-tested benefit as an automatic qualifier for a fee waiver for various immigration applications, making it more difficult for immigrants with low incomes to get a green card and become citizens. The most recent comment period closed July 5, 2019.
DHS Rule on Family Detention: The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new rule on Aug. 21, 2019 that would allow indefinite detention of immigrant families and undermine the 1997 Flores Agreement. The rule is set to go in to effect Oct. 22, 2019. This rule was blocked in the court in Sept. 2019.
DHS Rule on Public Charge – Admissibility: On Aug. 14, 2019, DHS published a final rule changing the definition of public charge when determining admissibility. DHS announced it would begin implementing this rule on Feb. 24, 2020. See the PICC Public Charge toolkit for more information.
DOJ Reorganization of EOIR: On Aug. 26, 2019, the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) proposed a rule that would reorganize the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), eliminating the Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) and placing the Recognition and Accreditation Program under an Office of Policy. Legal advocates are concerned this will reduce access to information and representation within immigration courts. The comment period ends Oct. 25, 2019.
DOJ Rule on Public Charge – Deportability: The DOJ released a draft notice of rulemaking to change the public charge ground for deportability. An official notice of rulemaking has not been issued yet, and until the proposed rule is published there are no firm details on the rule.
USCIS Ends Deferred Action for People Facing Serious Medical Conditions: In August, 2019, the administration announced it would no longer consider requests for deferred action for people facing serious medical conditions. Following litigation and advocacy, the administration reversed this decision and will resume consideration of medical deferred action requests on a case by case basis.
USCIS Proposed Fee Increases: On November 14, 2019, USCIS published a rule proposal that would significantly increase fees for a wide range of immigration applications. Additionally, USCIS is seeking to make fee waivers more difficult to acquire. The comment period for this rule is now closed, however there are still opportunities to advocate for a legislative fix.
USDA Rule on Mixed-status Families: Following the HUD mixed-status family rule, this rule from the Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to make housing eligibility rules conform to the HUD proposed rule.Last updated Jul 31 2020