The bill fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favored by many Republicans, making its passage doubtful in a narrowly divided Congress.
President-elect Joe Biden plans to propose a sweeping immigration bill on day one of his administration, aiming to provide an eight-year path for citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the United States without legal status. This legislation is a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
Under the legislation, people living in the United States as of January 1, without legal status would receive a green card or a five-year path to temporary legal status if they fulfill background checks, pay taxes and pass other basic requirements. After that, there will be a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to acquire citizenship.
The process could be quicker for some immigrants who are called dreamers. Dreamers include the young people who arrived in the United States illegally as children, agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status; and could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are in school, working, or meet other requirements.
The bill puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise significant to Latino voters and other immigrant communities. It provides a fast pathway to citizenship for people living without legal status of any measure in recent years. However, it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favored by many Republicans, making its passage doubtful in a narrowly divided Congress.
The bill is not as detailed as the last major immigration overhaul proposed during the Obama-Biden administration. This bill doesn’t constitute a robust border security element instead calls for coming up with strategies. It also doesn’t create any new guest worker or other visa programs. However, it addresses some root causes of migration from Central America to the United States and offers grants for workforce development and English language learning.
As we have reported earlier, Biden is expected to sign series of executive orders in an attempt to roll back several of Trump’s policies including overturn the travel ban against several predominantly Muslim countries and return to the Paris climate accord.