U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to send an immigration reform bill to Congress on Wednesday, the first day of his administration.
If passed, it would be the largest legislative overhaul of the U.S. immigration system in decades.
Here are some of the proposed reforms, according to people briefed on the plan and a fact sheet shared with reporters:
- Offers an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of people who were living in the United States unlawfully on Jan. 1, 2021. They would be eligible to apply for a green card after five years in a temporary status if they pass background checks and pay their taxes, and could then apply for citizenship three years later.
- Allows people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection, a group known as “Dreamers”, who were brought to the United States illegally as children, farmworkers and people with Temporary Protected Status to immediately apply for a green card if they meet specific requirements. They would have a three-year path to citizenship.
- Permits certain immigrants who were deported during the Trump administration and had previously lived in the United States for three years to return to reunite with family or for other humanitarian reasons.
- Raises annual per-country limits on family-based immigration and eliminates them for employment visas.
- Exempts spouses and children of green card holders from employment-based immigration quotas, expanding the number of green cards available to employment-based immigrants.
- Scraps multi-year bars to re-entry for certain people who lived in the United States illegally and then left.
- Clears family-based and employment-based visa backlogs.
- Provides work permits to dependents of H-1B visa holders.
- Authorises regional processing centers in Central America to register and process people for refugee resettlement and other legal migration programs.
- Authorises funding for legal counsel for vulnerable populations of migrants, such as children.
- Increases the number of immigration judges working in the court system.
- Eliminates the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications.
- Changes the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in U.S. immigration laws.