The Biden administration has made its immigration agenda clear, and it hopes for sweeping changes to U.S. immigration laws. President Biden made immigration reform a central issue during his campaign and wasted no time moving on his commitments upon being sworn in as President. On January 20th, 2020, on its first day in Office, the new administration sent a proposed immigration reform bill to Congress.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the policies and provisions included in the proposed immigration bill:
- An eight-year path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were living in the U.S. without status on January 20, 2020;
- A three-year path to citizenship for people holding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status or Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
- Allowing certain immigrants, who were deported under the Trump administration, to apply to return to the U.S. to reunite with family or for other humanitarian reasons in select cases;
- Easing of restrictions and backlog on family reunification and employment based-visas;
- Elimination of the 3 and 10-year bar on undocumented immigrants who resided in the U.S. and were deported or left;
- Providing additional support and funding for immigration administration and smart border controls;
- Changing the derogatory term “alien” to “noncitizen” in U.S. immigration law.
The proposed bill is the most comprehensive immigration reform bill in the U.S. in over a decade and signals a complete shift in immigration policy from the previous administration. President Biden also notably repealed the “Muslim Ban,” implemented by former President Trump, on his first day.
Although, the new administration will likely face an uphill battle in trying to get the proposed bill passed in the House and Senate, the ambitious and decidedly immigration friendly bill sends a strong message about the new administration’s views on immigration and the path President Biden wants to take in opposition to the previous administration when it comes to immigration issues.
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