President-elect Joe Biden will soon be asking Congress to help him create a path to citizenship for America’s illegal immigrants, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said Tuesday.
Harris made the comments in an interview with the Spanish-language media outlet Univision.
Harris said the bill would immediately hand out green cards to immigrants who are covered by either the Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, according to Politico.
The incoming administration also wants to reduce the time it takes to become a citizen to eight years. Right now, the process takes 13 years.
“It’s a smarter and much more humane way of approaching immigration,” Harris said.
The proposed legislation “creates a path for the majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country to” get citizenship, she told Univision.
On his campaign website, the Biden campaign said he would “work with Congress to pass legislation that: Creates a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million people who have been living in and strengthening our country for years.
“These are our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and members of our congregations and Little League teams,” the site said.
“Biden will aggressively advocate for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.”
Harris said Biden will “expand protections” for DACA recipients and said that new policies “will make sure that people receive vaccines regardless of their immigration status.”
In terms of the southern border, she said more immigration judges will be hired to address the huge backlog of asylum cases.
She also vowed that Biden would — as he said in his campaign — end family separations at the border.
DACA’s future could be shaped by a court case in Texas, where Texas and other states have said that former President Barack Obama overstepped his constitutional authority by creating the program.
A hearing on the lawsuit was held last month.
It is unclear when a ruling will be issued, The Associated Press reported.
Although President Donald Trump lost in his effort to rescind DACA last year, Nina Perales, vice president of litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said this case is different.
“This case does not take up the question of whether Trump had the authority to rescind DACA,” she told reporters last month, according to The Texas Tribune.
“This case is an attack on the underlying legality of DACA itself.”
Either way, the issue of illegal immigrants is likely to end up in the lap of lawmakers.
“DACA has to be replaced by a legislative approach,” MALDEF President Thomas Saenz told the AP.
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