Biden Has 8-Year Plan for Immigrants 01/19 06:16
President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day
One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship
for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status, a
massive reversal from the Trump administration's harsh immigration policies.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping
immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an
eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the
U.S. without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration's
harsh immigration policies.
The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise
important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of
President Donald Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It
provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without
legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the
traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favored by many Republicans,
making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.
Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after
Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, according to a person familiar with
the legislation and granted anonymity to discuss it.
As a candidate, Biden called Trump's actions on immigration an "unrelenting
assault" on American values and said he would "undo the damage" while
continuing to maintain border enforcement.
Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without
legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green
card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfill other basic
requirements. From there, it's a three-year path to naturalization, if they
decide to pursue citizenship.
For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the
young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as
agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify
more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet
The bill is not as comprehensive as the last major immigration overhaul
proposed when Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.
For example, it does not include a robust border security element, but
rather calls for coming up with strategies. Nor does it create any new guest
worker or other visa programs.
It does address some of the root causes of migration from Central America to
the United States, and provides grants for workforce development and English
Biden is expected to take swift executive actions to reverse other Trump
immigration actions, including an end to the prohibition on arrivals from
several predominantly Muslim countries.
During the Democratic primary, Biden consistently named immigration action
as one of his "day one" priorities, pointing to the range of executive powers
he could invoke to reverse Trump's policies.
Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a
major issue where the new administration could find common ground with Senate
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and enough other GOP senators to avoid the
stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades.
That kind of major win --- even if it involves compromise --- could be
critical as Biden looks for legislative victories in a closely divided
Congress, where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities that
involve rolling back some of the GOP's 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal
As a candidate, Biden went so far as to say the Obama administration went
too far in its aggressive deportations.