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Democrats in Congress formally presented a bill on Thursday with which U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to fulfill his campaign promise to promote an immigration reform that would guarantee a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Senator Bob Menendez, the highest ranking Latino in the U.S. Legislature, and Representative Linda Sanchez will be in charge of delivering the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which has become the flagship proposal of the Biden administration.
The initiative also has the support of Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Nydia Velázquez, Judy Chu, Raúl Ruiz, Yvette Clarke and Yvette Clarke, as well as Senators Amy Klobuchar, Alex Padilla and Ben Ray Luján.
The bill, which is bicameral, allows undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary legal status, with the option that they may apply for green cards after five years if they pass criminal and national security background checks and pay their taxes.
Dreamers, as immigrants who arrived in the country as children are known, as well as those covered by Temporary Protected Status (TPS) -mostly Central Americans- and immigrant farm workers will be able to apply for legal residency “immediately” and three years later for citizenship.
It will be a fundamental requirement “to have been in the country before January 1, 2021”.
The bill also repeals the prohibition of reentry for 3 and 10 years for those who have remained in the country irregularly and takes up a long-standing demand of different organizations and activists, by changing the term “alien” to “non-citizen.”
In order to be approved, the law proposed by Biden will have to obtain all the Democratic votes in the Senate, 50, and secure ten Republican votes. Otherwise, it will be doomed to fail as has happened with regularization attempts in previous years.