Activists protest the separation of immigrant families.
Aurelia Ventura-Impremedia / La Opinion
The immigration reform proposed by Joe Biden filled immigrant families with hope who are waiting for their immigration situation to be resolved.
The bill was presented to Congress and will be debated in the coming months. The new government tries to open a route towards citizenship to millions of undocumented, but also seeks their protection after four years of persecution by the Donald Trump government.
One of the points of the reform is to avoid the separation of families at all costs. The bill seeks to eliminate Trump’s measures that led to the separation between 2017 and 2018 of about 5,000 minors of their migrant parents. It also provides protection for orphans, widows and children. Another section says that immigrants with approved family sponsorship petitions will be allowed to join their families in the US temporarily while they wait for green cards.
Another aspect to take into account is that the reform will eliminate “public charge” rule under which immigration authorities can deny legal permanent residence to people who have used social assistance programs such as food stamps or housing subsidies.
Biden’s reform proposes streamlining the processes in immigration courts so that they are reduced waiting times for families with pending cases. It also seeks to finance legal aid for vulnerable people and school districts that receive migrant children.
The quotas for U visas will be increased, which can attend cases of domestic violence.
The immigration reform aims to open a path to citizenship that would begin with a temporary legal status for undocumented persons who have entered the country before January 1, 2021 and have a stay in the country of at least five years. Then they will be awarded the permanent residence. Three years later, these immigrants will be able to apply for and obtain US citizenship.