President-elect Joe Biden plans to follow through on a campaign promise to grant citizenship to 11M illegal immigrants in his first day in office. According to AP, Biden will announce citizenship legislation for undocumented migrants. Comparatively, the President-elect’s stand on immigration offers a contrast to President Donald Trump’s. The latter batted for more restrictive controls on borders and citizenship applications. Meanwhile, Biden hoped to provide an easier path to becoming an American.
Biden’s campaign featured a pledge to fast track citizenship for 11 million illegals. However, questions on how fast can he do it given the current problems besetting the nation. A worsening pandemic, a sputtering economy, and rampant unemployment all require urgent attention.
First Day in Office
Chief of staff Ron Klain said Saturday that on Day 1, Biden will send Congress an immigration bill. Esther Olivarria, deputy director for immigration, briefed immigration advocates on Biden’s proposal. She is a member of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
Meanwhile, Domingo Garcia of the League of Latin American Citizens applauded the move. “I was pleasantly surprised that they were going to take quick action,” he said. “We got the same promises from Obama, who got elected in ’08, and he totally failed,” he added. However, Garcia won’t count on an immediate passage within 100 days. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate will likely take center stage for the first few weeks.
Marlea Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, received a briefing on the plans. Biden’s proposal “does represent a historic shift from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda.” Hincapie also agreed that undocumented immigrants should have a chance for citizenship.”
She added “The bill also would provide a shorter pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of people with temporary protected status and beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals who were brought to the U.S. as children. In addition, the bill will also help “certain front-line essential workers, vast numbers of whom are immigrants.”
Eight Years For Citizenship
Ali Noorani is also among those briefed Thursday night by Olivarria. He gave details on Biden’s proposal. It will take five years for illegal aliens to get legal permanent resident status. Then, they can apply for US citizenship after three more years. The proposal is one of the fastest ways to gain US citizenship compared to other bills filed in Congress.
In addition, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients will get special treatment. Those under DACA, which protects child migrants from deportation, will receive fast-track status. Similarly, Temporary Protected Status migrants from war-torn countries will also get fast-tracked. Congress will reconvene on January 19. By then, Democrats will now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This makes it easier for Biden to get support and approval for his new immigrant policy plans.
Biden’s adjusted policies on immigration come at a favorable time. American attitude, not just Democrats, improved favorably over immigration. A 2020 Gallup poll found that 34% favored more immigration, which is 13% higher compared to 2016. The survey reported that 77% of Americans felt immigration is good for the country on the whole. This is 5% higher than in 2016 sentiments.
View the CNBC Los Angeles news report looking at what the new administration might do about immigration:
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