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What's in Biden's immigration bill proposal?

  • Published at 11:45 am January 21st, 2021
Migrants from Central America wait inside of an enclosure, where they are being held by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States illegally and turning themselves in to request asylum, in El Paso, Texas, US, March 29, 2019 Reuters

The reform bill also intends to changes the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in US immigration laws

US President Joe Biden’s immigration reform bill, which will be sent to the Congress on the first day of his administration, would be the largest legislative overhaul of the US immigration system in decades – if approved.

According to people briefed on the plan and a fact sheet shared with Reuters, the reform bill would offer an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of people who were living in the United States unlawfully on January 1, 2021. 

They would be eligible to apply for a green card after five years in a temporary status if they pass background checks and pay their taxes, and could then apply for citizenship three years later.

The reform would also allow people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection, a group known as “Dreamers”, who were brought to the United States illegally as children, farmworkers and people with Temporary Protected Status to immediately apply for a green card if they meet specific requirements. They would have a three-year path to citizenship.

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Similarly, it would also permit certain immigrants, who were deported during the Trump administration and had previously lived in the United States for three years, to return to reunite with family or for other humanitarian reasons. It would also raise the annual per-country limits on family-based immigration and eliminates them for employment visas.

If passed, the new law would also exempt spouses and children of green card holders from employment-based immigration quotas, expanding the number of green cards available to employment-based immigrants.

It would also scrap multi-year bars to re-entry for certain people, who lived in the United States illegally and then left.

Apart from clearing family-based and employment-based visa backlogs, the new law would also provide work permits to dependents of H-1B visa holders.

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It would also authorize funding for legal counsel for vulnerable populations of migrants, such as children, and allow regional processing centers in Central America to register and process people for refugee resettlement and other legal migration programs.

The reform bill also intends to changes the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in US immigration laws, increase the number of immigration judges working in the court system, and eliminate the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications.

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