President-elect Joe Biden will be tackling the contentious issue of immigration in the first days of his presidency.
Biden is expected the announce legislation that would provide legal status and an eight-year pathway to citizenship for 11 million people if passed into law, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Anyone who was in the country illegally on or before Jan. 1 would qualify for the eight-year pathway, the report said. They would be put in a temporary legal status for five years and granted a green card if they met certain requirements, such as paying taxes and passing a background check.
In addition, The Post reported, immigrants who were brought into the country as children — the so-called dreamers who were granted protected status under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — could apply for a green card immediately, as could “migrants from disaster-ravaged nations.”
Immigration activists are thrilled about the proposal, which is a sharp contrast from President Donald Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration, such as building a border wall.
“This really does represent a historic shift from Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that recognizes that all of the undocumented immigrants that are currently in the United States should be placed on a path to citizenship,” Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, told The Associated Press.
The legislation is very timely, as a caravan of thousands of people from Honduras and other Central American nations is headed to the United States’ southern border.
One of the migrants went viral for saying that Biden would be on their side, suggesting the incoming president would give them all legal status.
“What I want for my people — I just want patient because they are going to have a new president, Biden, he is going to help all of us,” the man said.
Honduran migrant: President-elect Biden is “going to help all of us.” pic.twitter.com/dlvld5APd0
— The Hill (@thehill) January 18, 2021
The Biden transition team pushed back against claims that they would take immediate action with the caravan.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans have slammed his proposals as overly lenient, suggesting that migrants will get certain advantages Americans do not.
Joe Biden has promised to:
❌Give 11 million illegal immigrants amnesty.
❌Allow illegal immigrants to be covered by government-run healthcare plans.
❌Suspend deportations for 100 days.
Because of these promises, a migrant caravan is already on its way to our southern border.
— U.S. Rep. Billy Long (@USRepLong) January 19, 2021
Immigration has been an issue for decades in the United States without a clear solution. The narratives of “putting kids in cages” from the left and the “open borders” narrative from the right do not accurately reflect the action that takes place under Democratic and Republican administrations.
Pew Research Center data confirmed that the removal of illegal immigrants by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement peaked in 2012 during the Obama administration.
Arrests made by ICE went up when Trump first took office but still remained lower overall than during the Obama years.
Immigration reform has yet to be truly tackled by a modern president, and the government red tape that goes into illegal and legal immigration has made the entire system a disaster.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.