FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Earlier this month, President Joe Biden signed orders rolling back several immigration policies put in place by former President Donald Trump.
According to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne, with the changes the Biden Administration is expected to propose around 500 DACA cases in the area plus more under other immigration statuses would likely see a more stable future ahead of them.
Catholic Charities’ Department of Justice accredited immigration professional Luz Ostrognai said those dealing with immigration proceedings can do more harm than good to their case, especially if they are seeking help from people who do not understand how to interpret the law.
“We know there is really so many people, they want to help but we have to be really careful because they can put these people in danger with immigration.”
According to Ostrognai, immigration law can be complex, especially when faced with swift policy changes by new presidential administrations like the Biden administration. Biden rolled back Trump Administration policies earlier this month and going forward is expected to produce more favorable policies for immigrants, like those who Catholic Charities assist in Northeast Indiana.
“We have here in Fort Wayne mostly people from El Salvador and Haiti, some from Honduras, but yes we still have a big population,” Ostrognai.
Ostrognai said that after 20 years, Catholic Charities been through enough policy changes to be able to pivot with each new president. However, it is not done without an extensive amount of research, as it deals with complex legislation.
“That’s why we have agencies like our agency here,” said Ostrognai. “We are always making sure that we follow the regulations, that we have the experience, so this experience and the knowledge we have invested, time in learning, in getting updated so everything that is going on because we feel like it’s a general moral and legal responsibility to keep our community informed, in a way, of all the changes.”
She expects that the Biden Administration will seek to pass laws that give immigrants a path to permanent residency, which means a more stable future in store.
“It’s going to give them something more permanent,” said Ostrognai. “That is, maybe we are thinking about legal permanent resident status, and then eventually citizenship.”
Rolling back executive orders from the Trump Administration will not immediately make citizenship a possibility, but is an indication of where he plans to lean when it comes to immigration. This is big news especially for those with temporary protected status or who fall under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who in most cases live in the country with no clear path to permanent residency.
“They had been renewing their status every 18 months, you know they had been working paying their taxes, being really part of the community,” said Ostrognai. “For them to finally be able to have something more stable, I think that’s absolutely wonderful.”
It also could see people reunited with family members still living in other countries as they wait for the immigration process to cycle through.
“We have US citizens and legal permanent residents’ parents, spouses, even though they already apply for the family members to come here, with the backlog that we have generally is by visa number, they had to wait years,” said Ostrognai. “They had to wait in some cases, 20, you know, twenty years until they’re really able to reunite you know with their family members. So I think this is going to expedite this process.”