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Executive Orders roll back immigration restrictions

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CARBONDALE, Ill. (WSIL) -- On his first day in the Oval Office, President Joe Biden delivered a proposed bill to Congress calling for sweeping changes to the Immigration System, and signed executive orders rolling back portions of the previous administration's crackdown on immigration.

Those orders lift the travel ban on people from majority-Muslim countries, halt the construction of the border wall and pause deportation of non-citizens for 100 days starting Friday.

Southern Illinois University Law Professor Cindy Buys, who works extensively on immigration issues, says several of those executive orders will have an immediate impact in our region.

"One of the first ones that he signed related to what's called the DACA program, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals," explains Buys. "And that will extend the DACA program for young people who were brought here before the age of 18."

Buys says this is good news for SIU DACA students. She has witnessed the struggles of students enrolled, in good standing, while worried of their immigration status.

"So it's really important for them to know that they're going to continue to have a lawful way to stay in the United States and not be in fear of deportation," says Buys, adding, "And a path for them to be able to pursue their education and then work after they graduate."

And that path to remain in the U.S. is one step closer as Biden's proposed bill to Congress, The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, would create an "Earned roadmap to citizenship" for undocumented individuals who were in the U.S. on-or-before January 1, 2021.

Buys says she expects the quickly-evolving changes, which arrive with each administration, will make for a challenging semester in her classroom.

"It is an exciting time to be teaching immigration law," says Buys. "It is a time when my students can be thinking about how they can be engaged in the conversation and create a better system for our country."

Joe Rehana

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