Biden plans 8-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status

Blue lights are beamed into the sky over the "Field of Flags" on the National Mall as the U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden, in Washington, Jan 18, 2021. REUTERS
President-elect Joe Biden will roll out a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws the day he is inaugurated, including an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status and an expansion of refugee admissions, along with an enforcement plan that deploys technology to patrol the border, The Washington Post reports.

Biden’s legislative proposal, which will be sent to Congress on Wednesday, also includes a heavy focus on addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, a key part of Biden’s foreign policy portfolio when he served as vice president.

The centrepiece of the plan from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D Harris is the eight-year pathway, which would put millions of qualifying immigrants in a temporary status for five years and then grant them a green card once they meet certain requirements such as a background check and payment of taxes. They would be able to apply for citizenship three years later.

To qualify, immigrants must have been in the United States as of Jan 1, a move meant to blunt any rush to the border.

Beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — which granted key protections for “dreamers” — and the temporary protected status programme for migrants from disaster-ravaged nations could apply for a green card immediately.