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Biden is to propose an eight-year citizenship path for immigrants, among other measures introduced on inauguration day. Photo: Getty Images
Biden is to propose an eight-year citizenship path for immigrants, among other measures introduced on inauguration day. Photo: Getty Images

Latinx Reps are making sure Dreamers will not be forgotten on day one of Biden’s administration

Day one is upon us, and President-elect Joe Biden has promised sweeping immigration reform starting now.

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President-elect Joe Biden is expected to introduce a number of immigration laws on his first day of office, and Latino legislators aren’t going to let him forget about Dreamers. 

During the Democratic primaries, Biden consistently named immigration action as one of his “day one” plans for action, referencing the executive powers he would be able to invoke as president to reverse Trump’s policies.

In contrast to his tenure as Vice President under President Barack Obama, Biden has decidedly made immigration his first legislative priority, behind the immediate health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Both the Latinx community and Latino legislators have criticized the Obama administration’s massive deportations and inability to pass reform measures with a Democratic Congress.

So far, it appears as if Biden is making good on the day aspect of his promise, as he plans to unveil multiple immigration measures, including its focal point: a proposal to establish an eight-year pathway to citizenship. 

The plan will put millions of qualifying immigrants in a temporary status for five years, and afterward grant them a green card after meeting certain requirements like background checks and paying taxes. Then, they would be eligible to apply for citizenship three years later. 

In an effort to mitigate a rush to the U.S. border that the upcoming administration has anticipated as a result of the immigration reform, it plans to set a further qualifying measure — that immigrants must have been in the U.S. as of Jan. 1. 

Some have already pointed out that the proposals introduced so far aren’t as sweeping as initially thought.

TIME, for instance, highlighted that it does not include a robust border security element. Instead, it calls for coming up with new strategies. It doesn’t affect or create new guest worker visas either.

For some immigrants, the process will be quicker according to his plan. 

Dreamers, some protected under the Deferred Action for childhood arrivals (DACA), as well as agricultural workers and those under temporary protective status, could qualify faster if they are working, in school, or if they meet other requirements.

Latinx reps from across the country are making sure Dreamers and DACA recipients, who have been in limbo for their entire lives and especially so during the Trump administration, aren’t forgotten on day one. 

Reps. Norma Torres (D-CA), Nanette Barragán, Linda Sánchez, Adriano Espaillat, Salud Carbajal, Grace Napolitano, Juan Vargas, Teresa Leger Fernández and more have reiterated their support for Dreamers, using the hashtags #HomeIsHere and #HereToStay on Twitter.

“They show up for us; it’s time we show up for them,” wrote Rep. Barragan, signaling her support for the upcoming legislation on immigration reform, adding, “ready to work with the Biden-harris Administration to secure a path forward for Dreamers.”

“Members like myself are eager to secure a path forward for Dreamers and are ready to work with the incoming Administration to finally make this a reality. #HereToStay,” wrote Rep. Torres. 

Besides voicing his support, Rep. Espaillat called attention to DACA, which a federal judge restored in December. New applications and renewals are currently open, though the entire program awaits the reform outlined by the incoming administration.

Along with the above promises, the Biden-Harris administration has previously mentioned an intent to increase the refugee admissions cap to 125,000. 

Trump lowered it to 15,000 during his administration. 

Biden’s campaign also promised to review temporary protected status for individuals who cannot find safety in their countries ripped apart by violence or disaster.

Biden’s proposals are set to be introduced after he takes his oath of office on inauguration day on Jan. 20, according to multiple sources. 

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