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People of a certain age remember President Gerald Ford’s economic recovery plan: Whip Inflation Now (WIN). Ford’s press secretary, Ron Nessen, turned the acronym upside down to indicate the public should not expect an immediate miracle.

In the same vein, despite President-elect Joe Biden’s statements that he will reverse President Trump’s restrictive immigration policies, we should not expect immediate miracles. While much of President Trump’s policies were implemented by Executive Orders, which can be reversed immediately, more subtle restrictions have been implemented by changes in rules and regulations to statutes related to immigration. 

For example, over the past year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has issued notices of public rulemaking related to, among other issues, increasing filing fees for some court petitions, shortening time limits and bases for claiming asylum, requiring persons who arrive at the border with Mexico and claim asylum to make that claim in a third country, and barring entry into this country because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of these changes are being litigated in federal courts across the country. However, the litigation process is not swift, and rule changes that have been implemented, unless overturned by a court, must go through another period of notice and comment.

What does that mean to we who advocate on behalf of refugees and others seeking asylum?

Be ever vigilant. 

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV).