During the 2020 Presidential campaign, one of the major promises by the Biden/Harris ticket was to create a pathway to citizenship for all Caribbean nationals and other immigrants in the United States.
According to the Associated Press, that proposal may be introduced on day one of Joe Biden’s four-year term. AP notes that Biden plans to unveil a new immigration bill, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status.
Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. 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.
For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. 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.
Prior to the election, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had been extremely critical of the immigration policies that were implemented by the Donald Trump administration.
During his term, President Trump had imposed a travel ban on several countries in Africa and Western Asia (now known as the “Muslim Ban”), temporarily terminated the DACA program and even tried to “build a wall” on the US/Mexico border.
In October, Harris confidently stated that on the issue of immigration, “there couldn’t’ be a bigger difference between a Biden/Harris approach and a Donald Trump approach.”
“Donald Trump has been horrendous. Look at the policy which has been about putting babies in cages and separating children from their parents at the border. He also broke his promise to the DREAMers, some of which are coming from Caribbean countries,” she said.
She stated that one day of their term, she and Biden would, in fact, renew DACA and create a pathway towards citizenship.
Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions to reverse other Trump immigration actions, including the Muslim travel ban.