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News > U.S.

Joe Biden: Immigration Reform During First Day in Office

  • President Joe Biden speaks during his inauguration as US President in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2021.

    President Joe Biden speaks during his inauguration as US President in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2021. | Photo: EFE/EPA/ Patrick Semansky

Published 20 January 2021 (14 hours 28 minutes ago)
Opinion

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 aims to create a legalization mechanism for the over 10.5 million undocumented migrants living in the United States. 

U.S. President Joe Biden has sent Congress an immigration reform bill to facilitate citizenship for undocumented migrants. The bill, set to become the most transformative reform package since 1986, is one of the first initiatives Biden kicked off on inauguration day.

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The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 aims at creating a legalization mechanism for the over 10.5 million undocumented migrants living in the United States. The proposal would allow migrants that have been at the U.S. border on or before January 1 to receive residency and, afterward, citizenship.

The bill also includes visa options for family-based immigration and reinforces protection for immigrant workers. Moreover, it would boost family reunification from 55.000 visas per year during the Trump administration to 80.000 visas annually. The legislation establishes a $4 billion fund to address the migratory crisis in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala during the next four years.

"This legislation provides new pathways to citizenship, promotes smart border controls, and ... addresses the root causes of migration," Biden's policy adviser Susan Rice told reporters before Inauguration Day. "The bill also creates an earned path to citizenship for Dreamers, farmworkers, and essential workers who risk their lives to serve and protect American communities," the official added.

The bill needs Congress's approval but is uncertain whether it will make it through the Senate as democrats hold a slim majority. Nonetheless, U.S. media outlets report that Biden is ready to sign executive orders to reverse Trump's travel ban on Muslim nations. 

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