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 US without legal status, reports the AP. The legislation, a massive reversal from the Trump administration's harsh immigration policies, puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President 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, putting passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.
Under the legislation, set to be introduced after Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday, those living in the US 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. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the US 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 other requirements. Biden is also 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.
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