This NAFSA page contains links to significant immigration-related changes and initiatives especially relevant to higher education, instituted by the new administration of President Joe Biden. (Click here to review executive actions taken under the prior Trump administration).

NAFSA Recommendations to the Biden Administration

Select Immigration-Related Executive Actions

Executive actions, also called presidential actions, are actions that are taken by the President of the United States, usually through the following vehicles: Executive Orders; Presidential Proclamations; and Presidential Memoranda. For additional information and background on executive actions: View Presidential Documents published in the Federal Register and a NAFSA backgrounder on executive actions. Select immigration-related executive actions made in the first 100 days of the Biden administration are listed below. Also see a Congressional Research Service Legal Sidebar, Recent White House Actions on Immigration (February 10, 2021).

  • Proclamation 10209 of May 14, 2021, titled Revoking Proclamation 9945. On May 14, 2021, President Biden revoked former President Trump's Proclamation 9945 of October 4, 2019, titled Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System. PP 9945 required applicants for immigrant visas to prove that either they would be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entry into the United States, or that they possessed the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.
  • Proclamation 10199 of April 30, 2021, titled Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019, published at 86 FR 24301 (May 6, 2021). Effective May 4, 2021, restricts the entry of nonimmigrants who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14 day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. Read more on NAFSA's page.
  • Proclamation 10149 of February 24, 2021, tiled Revoking Proclamation 10014. On February 24, 2021, President Biden revoked former President Trump's Proclamation 10014 and the proclamations that extended it, effective February 24, 2021. Proclamation 10014 had suspended and limited entry into the United States of many classes of immigrants.
  • Executive Order 14010 of February 2, 2021: Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, to Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border. Published at 86 FR 8267 (February 5, 2021).
  • Executive Order 14011 of February 2, 2021: Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families. Published at 86 FR 8273 (February 5, 2021).
  • Executive Order EO 14012 of February 2, 2021: Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans. Published at 86 FR 8277 (February 5, 2021).
    • NAFSA's priorities fall under this third executive order. A February 2, 2021 Fact Sheet describes this order's focus: "President Biden believes that immigrants are essential to who we are as a nation and critical to our aspirations for the future. The prior administration enacted hundreds of policies that run counter to our history and undermine America's character as a land of opportunity that is open and welcoming to all who come here seeking protection and opportunity. This Executive Order elevates the role of the White House in coordinating the federal government's strategy to promote immigrant integration and inclusion, including re-establishing a Task Force on New Americans, and ensuring that our legal immigration system operates fairly and efficiently. The order requires agencies to conduct a top-to-bottom review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have set up barriers to our legal immigration system. It also rescinds President Trump's memorandum requiring family sponsors to repay the government if relatives receive public benefits, instructs the agencies to review the public charge rule and related policies, and streamline the naturalization process."
    • Pursuant to EO 14012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a request for information at 86 FR 20398 (April 19, 2021), titled Identifying Barriers Across Benefits and Services, with a 30-day comment period. Read a summary of the request for information and NAFSA's May 18, 2021 comment letter on NAFSA's page.
    • Pursuant to EO 14012, and similar to USCIS's request for information, on April 8, 2021 the Department of State (DOS) submitted for OMB review a pre-rule titled Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans; Request for Comments. OMB completed its review on July 30, 2021. The next step will be for DOS to publish its request for information in the Federal Register.
  • Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America's Workers. Executive Order 14005 of January 25, 2021. Published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7475 (January 28, 2021).
    • Revokes Executive Order 13788 of April 18, 2017 (Buy American and Hire American), replacing it with a policy "that the United States Government should, consistent with applicable law, use terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in, and services offered in, the United States. The United States Government should, whenever possible, procure goods, products, materials, and services from sources that will help American businesses compete in strategic industries and help America's workers thrive. Additionally, to promote an accountable and transparent procurement policy, each agency should vest waiver issuance authority in senior agency leadership, where appropriate and consistent with applicable law."
  • Proclamation Continues Schengen, UK, Ireland, Brazil, China and Iran COVID Restrictions and Adds South Africa. January 25, 2021. Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease.
    • President Biden's Proclamation 10143 of January 25, 2021 continues the 14-day U.S. entry restrictions on individuals who were recently present in the Schengen Area, UK, Ireland, Brazil, China or Iran, and, effective January 30, 2021, adds South Africa to the list of countries. Also see NAFSA's page.
  • Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel. January 21, 2021. Executive Order.
    • Directs relevant agencies to incorporate, to the extend feasible, CDC recommendations on public modes of transportation and at ports of entry to the United States, including recommendations such as mask-wearing, physical distancing, appropriate ventilation, timely testing, and possibly self-quarantine after U.S. entry.
  • Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States. January 20, 2021. Proclamation 10141, published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7005 (January 25, 2021).
  • Regulatory Freeze Pending Review. January 20, 2021. Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies.
    • Sets varied temporary stops on implementation of "midnight" regulations and polices issued by the Trump administration, to give the Biden administration time to review those regulations and policies.
  • Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). January 20, 2021. Memorandum for the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security. Published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7053 (January 25, 2021)
    • Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, to "take all actions he deems appropriate, consistent with applicable law, to preserve and fortify DACA."
  • Modernizing Regulatory Review. January 20, 2021. Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies. Published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7223 (January 26, 2021)
    • Reaffirms the process of reviewing significant executive branch regulatory actions by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the basic principles set forth in Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993 (Regulatory Planning and Review), as amended and in Executive Order 13563 of January 18, 2011 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review). Directs OMB and the agencies "as appropriate and as soon as practicable, to begin a process with the goal of producing a set of recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review," and specifies that these "recommendations should be informed by public engagement with relevant stakeholders."
  • Executive Order on Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation. January 20, 2021. Executive Order 13992, published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7049 (January 25, 2021).
    • Revokes the following Trump Administration Executive Orders, and directs OMB and agency heads to "promptly take steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, or portions thereof" that implement or enforce those orders: "Executive Order 13771 of January 30, 2017 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs), Executive Order 13777 of February 24, 2017 (Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda), Executive Order 13875 of June 14, 2019 (Evaluating and Improving the Utility of Federal Advisory Committees), Executive Order 13891 of October 9, 2019 (Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents), Executive Order 13892 of October 9, 2019 (Promoting the Rule of Law Through Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement and Adjudication), and Executive Order 13893 of October 10, 2019 (Increasing Government Accountability for Administrative Actions by Reinvigorating Administrative PAYGO)."
  • Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities. January 20, 2021. Executive Order 13993, published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7051 (January 25, 2021).
    • Rescinds Executive Order 13768 of January 25, 2017 (Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States), to "reset the policies and practices for enforcing civil immigration laws to align enforcement" with the Biden administrations "values and priorities" that include: "protect national and border security, address the humanitarian challenges at the southern border, and ensure public health and safety. We must also adhere to due process of law as we safeguard the dignity and well-being of all families and communities."
  • Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians. January 20, 2021. Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security. Published in the Federal Register at 86 FR 7055 (January 25, 2021)
    • Reinstates DED for eligible Liberians until June 30, 2022.
    • Under a USCIS Federal Register notice published at 86 FR 9531 (February 16, 2021): "DED and employment authorization for individuals covered under DED for Liberians is extended through June 30, 2022. Automatically extended DED-related EADs, as specified in this notice, expire after June 30, 2022."

For a complete listing of executive actions by President Biden, go to the Presidential Actions listing on whitehouse.gov. You can also find presidential documents formally published in the Federal Register, for the Biden Administration and past administrations.

Agency Matters

  • Immigration-Related Agency Head Nominations and Confirmations. For other agencies, see The Cabinet on whitehouse.gov.
    • DHS. Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Senate confirmed. Took office on 02/02/2021.
    • DOS. Department of State. Secretary Antony Blinken. Senate confirmed. Took office on 01/26/2021.
    • DOL. Department of Labor. Senate confirmed. Took office on 03/23/2021.
    • DOJ. Department of Justice. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Senate confirmed on 03/10/2021.
  • Department of State Implementation of January 20, 2021 Proclamation Ending Muslim/African Travel Ban
    • Rescission of Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983. Department of State notice. Last updated 03/10/2021. "... Pursuant to President Biden's proclamation, the Department can immediately process visa applications for individuals from the affected countries. Please note that the rescission of P.P.s 9645 and 9983 does not necessarily mean that your local U.S. embassy or consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa interviews. The resumption of routine visa services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, prioritized after services to U.S. citizens, will occur on a post-by-post basis, consistent with the Department's guidance for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities..."
  • President Joe Biden Announces Acting Federal Agency Leadership. January 20, 2021. Statements and Releases. Identifies individuals who will temporarily lead federal agencies while Cabinet nominees move through the confirmation process.
  • Agency implementation of Executive Order 13993 of January 20, 2021: Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities.
    • January 20, 2021 Agency Memo by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske to CBP, ICE, and USCIS, titled Review of and Interim Revision to Civil Immigration Enforcement and Removal Policies and Priorities. Directs DHS components to conduct a review of policies and practices concerning immigration enforcement. This memorandum also rescinds the following DHS memoranda issued during the Trump administration:
      • Department of Homeland Security, Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest, Memorandum of February 20, 2017.
      • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Implementing the President's Border Security and Interior Immigration Enforcement Policies, Memorandum of February 20, 2017.
      • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Guidance to OPLA Attorneys Regarding the Implementation of the President's Executive Orders and the Secretary's Directives on Immigration Enforcement, Memorandum of August 15, 2017.
      • US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens, Policy Memorandum of June 28, 2018. (US Citizenship and Immigration Services should revert to the preexisting guidance in Policy Memorandum 602-0050, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Revised Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Removable Aliens, Policy Memorandum of Nov. 7, 2011.)
      • US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) When Processing a Case Involving Information Submitted by a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Requestor in Connection with a DACA Request or a DACA-Related Benefit Request (Past or Pending) or Pursuing Termination of DACA, Policy Memorandum of June 28, 2018.
      • U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Executive Orders 13767 and 13768 and the Secretary's Implementation Directions of February 17, 2017, Memorandum of February 21, 2017.
    • February 18, 2021 ICE Interim Guidance: Civil Immigration Enforcement and Removal Priorities, from Tae D. Johnson, Acting Director, ICE. Establishes interim guidance effective immediately in support of the January 20, 2021 Peroske memo.
  • Liberian DED. Under a USCIS Federal Register notice published at 86 FR 9531 (February 16, 2021): "DED and employment authorization for individuals covered under DED for Liberians is extended through June 30, 2022. Automatically extended DED-related EADs, as specified in this notice, expire after June 30, 2022." Also see the USCIS Liberian DED page.
  • Venezuela TPS and DED. On March 9, 2021, DHS published a notice designating Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and implementing employment authorization for Venezuelans covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). 86 FR 13574 (March 9, 2021). See NAFSA's page.

Legislation and Congressional Action

  • Letter Urging President to Rescind Proclamation 10052, Open Consulates, and Resume Issuing Nonimmigrant Visas. On March 17, 2021, Senators Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus S. King (D-ME), Jr., Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to President Biden, urging the President "to follow through on your promise to rescind Proclamation 10052 without delay, resume timely processing of nonimmigrant visas, and direct U.S. Embassies and Consulates to open up visa appointments for nonimmigrant visas as soon as possible." See NAFSA's Proclamation 10052 page for background on that Trump era proclamation that suspends entry of certain H, J, and L nonimmigrants until March 31, 2021.
  • U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 Introduced. On February 18, 2021, Representative Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced in the House HR 1177, a bill To provide an earned path to citizenship, to address the root causes of migration and responsibly manage the southern border, and to reform the immigrant visa system, and for other purposes. The short title of the bill is the U.S. Citizenship Act. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is expected to introduce an identical bill in the Senate. The bill includes proposals that have earned bipartisan support in the past, such as a permanent solution for Dreamers, and contains several provisions of particular interest to international educators, including language that:
    • extends dual intent to international students (Fs) at U.S. higher education institutions;
    • exempts STEM PhD U.S. graduates from the annual green card and per country caps (effectively offering a direct path to green card status);
    • enables international students (Fs) to apply for green cards without losing their ability to continue extend F status;
    • allows international students (Fs) along with a H-1Bs and a few other nonimmigrant statuses to extend their status in one-year increments while the Department of Labor or USCIS decides which filings are required for green card status.
    • Stay tuned to NAFSA's page on the U.S. Citizenship Act.

NAFSA Contributions and Responses

  • Letter to Secretary of Homeland Security and Secretary of State. March 18, 2021. NAFSA joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and 40 other organizations on a letter to Secretaries Mayorkas (DHS) and Blinken (DOS) urging the agencies to take steps to prepare for the fall 2021 semester, including:
    • timely and efficient processing of visa applications, and of employment authorization applications related to OPT
    • waiving the in-person interview requirement for students as much as possible, or allow for online interviews
    • issuing ICE guidance for the coming fall as soon as possible, and allow students to enter the U.S. for study even if school will be entirely online
    • extending the exemption for students to allow travel from all the COVID travel restricted countries, not just from the European Schengen area, the U.K., and Ireland
  • Letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. February 3, 2021. NAFSA joined 47 higher education associations on a letter to the new Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • Letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. January 27, 2021. NAFSA joined 47 higher education associations on a letter to the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
  • NAFSA Applauds Actions to Make America Welcoming to Immigrants Again. January 21, 2021. NAFSA Press Release. Statement by Esther D. Brimmer, DPhil, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. "These first Executive Orders are a vital component of restoring the confidence of international students and scholars as they choose whether to study and contribute to U.S. campuses, our economy, and our communities... NAFSA looks forward to working closely with the Biden-Harris administration to show the world that the United States welcomes and values immigrants; that our colleges and universities are made better by the international students, scholars, researchers and others who choose to bring their talent; and that immigrants truly make America great."
  • NAFSA's Priorities for the Biden Administration - A roadmap for rebuilding and restoring international education leadership. NAFSA International Educator, December 7, 2020. By Erica Stewart, Director, Advocacy & Media Outreach, NAFSA.
  • Rebuilding and Restoring International Education Leadership - Recommendations for the Biden-Harris Administration (November, 2020, includes downloadable printed copy)
  • NAFSA Responds to Historic Election of the Biden-Harris Administration. November 9, 2020. NAFSA Press Release. Statement by Esther D. Brimmer, DPhil, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.