CORPUS CHRISTI — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to unveil his immigration plan today shortly after taking office.
This proposal will include a path to citizenship for millions who are already in the United States without documents.
One immigrant, born in North Mexico has made a life for herself in Corpus Christi with five daughters and a husband. She recalls her difficult journey arriving into this country 16 years ago.
“I came into this country with a smuggler through though the bridge," she said. "Immigration behaved very badly, they tried to take away my daughter.”
Seeking assistance from a lawyer, she hoped to arrange her daughter's paperwork to be considered as a dreamer. That was four years ago.
“When DACA was approved we were left with all the paper work to send out because that's when everything was canceled,” she said.
The news of president-elect Biden hoping to provide an eight-year oath to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the United States without legal status has provided a solution that immigration attorneys hope to learn about over the upcoming 10 days.
“Finding a more permanent solution for that group of kids, he (Biden) has also talked about implementing something called DAPA which would be basically, Deferred Action for Parents of American Children,” said Debra Rodriguez, a partner at the Corpus Christi law firm Rodriguez & Moretzsohn.
While the new legislation would provide faster pathways to citizenship, it also includes the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security which is favored by many conservatives. But Rodriguez points out the resources will still be there.
“What the Biden administration is saying is we’re going to take that money that was previously being spent on the wall and going to use that money to give resources to ICE and CPB,” she said.
The discussion of President-elect Biden making immediate changes has brought hope to people to begin to resolve the major issue of immigration.
“Our hope has been there since the Obama administration, we thought he would help us but no and that is something we always have,”said a woman immigrant and Corpus Christi resident.
Under the legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfill other basic requirements. From there, it's a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to pursue citizenship.
For the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status, they could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements.