The Biden administration and Congressional Democrats will formally unveil legislation on Thursday that will radically reshape national immigration laws and create a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants to the United States.
After failing for two decades to advance meaningful immigration reform, Joe Biden and his allies on Capitol Hill are relaunching the effort, which the new president says will be a national priority.
The proposal, based on the principles set out by Biden on his first day in office, will be brought to the House by California MP Linda Snchez and to the Senate by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, both Democrats with experience in politics. negotiating immigration legislation in Congress.
According to administration officials, eligible undocumented immigrants could apply for temporary legal status, which grants them work permits and deportation assistance. After five years, they could apply for a green card as part of an eight-year path to citizenship.
Some immigrants, including farm workers, those with temporary protected status, and undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, would be eligible to apply for green cards immediately, officials said on a call with journalists Wednesday evening. After three years, they could apply to become US citizens.
To avoid a surge at the border, petitioners were required to be in the United States by January 1, 2021 and would have to pass all required criminal and national security checks, file taxes and pay the application fee.
The proposal also attempts to streamline and expand the legal immigration system by increasing the current ceilings on family immigrant and employer visas. Spouses, legal partners and children of permanent residents would be exempt from the current country caps, which administration officials said would significantly reduce wait times. It would also explicitly include same-sex partners as immediate relatives.
A second pillar of the legislation aims to address the root causes of migration to the southwest border. To that end, the proposal would give the Biden administration $ 4 billion over four years to fight corruption and reduce poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
It would also establish processing centers across the region, where people from Central America could apply for refugee status to come legally to the United States. One official said the goal was to stem the flow of migrants to the US border, a journey that has become increasingly perilous.
Another aspect of the plan would repeal the Clinton-era immigration rules that prohibit undocumented immigrants leaving the United States from returning legally for three or 10 years, depending on how long they have been illegally in the country. It also changes the term foreign, a word immigrant advocates have long denounced as dehumanizing to non-citizens.
The overhaul faces a surge, with Democrats holding only a slim majority in the House and Senate. Passing the bill in the Senate would require the support of at least 10 Republicans, a tall order on an issue over which parties have become more divided in recent years. Under Trump, Republicans rallied around many former extremist and isolationist political presidents who enraged Democrats and independents.
Republican support or whether he would consider using a legislative maneuver,
In his first day in office, Biden set out to reverse many of the immigration policies of his predecessors, including preserving the DACA, an Obama-era program that protects immigrants brought to the United States as children of the deportation, the end of construction on the border wall and the repeal of a ban on travelers from countries with a Muslim majority.
Although presidents have broad authority in immigration matters, there are limits to what can be achieved by executive action. This was brought to light after Trump attempted to end the DACA program, leaving hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries in a state of uncertainty amid the legal battle that followed.
At a CNN town hall on Tuesday, Biden stepped up his support for a sweeping immigration bill, but also said he was open to a piecemeal approach that would pave the way for immigrant groups smaller and dedicated to obtain citizenship in the meantime.
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