This week, we read about a new immigration plan from the Biden administration, new legislation for immigrant entrepreneurs, and an update to ongoing travel restrictions.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a new immigration strategy. Both Democrats and Republicans have pushed the Biden administration to act on immigration issues.  
“Success in building this fair, orderly, and humane immigration system won’t be achieved overnight, especially after the prior Administration’s irrational and inhumane policies, but this Administration has a blueprint to get there and is making real progress,” says a White House fact sheet. 
The plan includes the renewal of expedited removals, which gives border officials the power to deport non-citizens attempting to enter the United States. Expedited removal also allows border officials to quickly decide whether a migrant qualifies for asylum. This section is considered controversial. Immigration advocates argue that it violates the asylum system and will put asylum seekers at risk of harm from the very danger they are fleeing. 
The Biden administration also announced it will still be enforcing Title 42, adding the exception of unaccompanied minors. Title 42 allows border officials to remove migrants swiftly, citing coronavirus sanitary precautions.
The Trump administration was heavily criticized for relying on security in Mexico and Central America to enforce the border. While the Biden administration’s approach to immigration is vastly different, it will still rely on security in other countries to manage the border.
The plan mentions Biden’s support for more immigration reform. It also encourages Congress to pass legislation that will help Dreamers. Despite promises for reform, many immigration advocates are disappointed. Many believe the plan focuses too heavily on the Southern border. 
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren announced a new bill that will allow immigrant entrepreneurs to develop their startup companies in the U.S. This initiative has been long-awaited by immigration advocates. 
Congresswoman Lofgren recently chaired a hearing* that explained the need for a startup visa. In the hearing, she spoke about the U.S. losing out on foreign talent due to not having a startup visa. 
The U.S. does not currently offer a specific visa for immigrant founders of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Almost 25 other countries do. This bill, titled the LIKE Act, (Let Immigrants Kickstart Employment Act) proposes two different types of visas for startup founders. The Act outlines the potential to give startup founders the ability to stay and work in the U.S. for up to five years. After that, startup founders may be eligible for a green card and receive lawful permanent residence. 
Many groups have shown support for the bill, among them the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). Representatives from the NVCA spoke about the need for the startup visa, noting that immigrant entrepreneurs often have to use other visas not designated for them, such as the 0-1 or H-1B visa. 
“Immigration founders have built some of the most iconic American companies, including Moderna and Pfizer that have been delivering lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines to the American people. Current immigration policies push foreign job creators away while other countries are rolling out the welcome mat. The US share of global venture capital investment has shrunk from 84 per cent to 51 per cent in just 17 years,” says Bobby Franklin, CEO of NVCA. 
While the U.S. does currently offer the IER, (often referred to as “the startup visa”, though not a visa), this presents some limitations. 
McEntee has been advocating and fighting for a specific visa for immigrant entrepreneurs for over five years and couldn’t be more delighted by this initiative. 
*Our managing attorney, Fiona McEntee, was asked to submit a statement for the record to said hearing. You can read it here.
On Monday, the White House confirmed it will not lift ongoing travel bans, due to the current rise in COVID cases and concerns over the Delta variant. 
“Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead,” says White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. 
At a recent press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Biden announced that a decision on the travel ban would come soon. Since the conference, COVID cases have increased. This news will be devastating to U.S. airlines and the tourism industry hoping to see the travel ban lifted during the summer months. 
The travel ban was first imposed in January 2020. The ongoing restrictions have resulted in heavy criticism. The ban has prevented many from being able to see friends and family abroad during times of crisis
The administration has not released any timeline about when the ban will be lifted. The White House is discussing a plan that would require international visitors to get the COVID vaccine before entering the U.S, but this plan is still under review. 

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