Many people come to America with the dream of being able to escape the system of poverty into which they were born. Many people come to America despite coming from a family of privilege because they believe that there is a better opportunity for them, here, going as far as seeking citizenship as a permanent resident. Many young people from affluent families across the globe come to America for higher education. No national dream is as famous across the world as the American Dream. With each new president, the path to achieving it for those not born in America is rerouted. What does the Biden administration mean for those with the dream of coming to America in order to offer freedom to their families?
A Path To Citizenship
The proposed immigration plan would offer an eight-year plan towards citizenship for people already living in the United States. A clean background check and history of paying taxes for five years can allow for applying for a Green Card. This could then lead to applying for citizenship after three years.
Those offered DACA protection would also be offered a chance to take part in this three-year path towards citizenship. Even those who have lived in the United States for three years, but were removed during the Trump Administration, will have a chance to reunite with family or have access to other resources.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, DACA, is more famous by its name than its purpose. Under the Obama-Biden administration, it was a supplement to the DREAM Act. It offered protection to those who were brought to the United States as children through their parents’ immigration and were productive citizens since being here. It allowed those who passed a background check to obtain temporary work permits and avoid deportation.
Biden’s administration will reinstate this DACA protection that was removed by the Trump administration. This includes exploring all legal options to protect children from being separated from their families. Protections are to be extended to federal student aid as well as offering access to community colleges so that “dreamers” can contribute even more to the economy.
More foreign workers
The Biden Immigration Reform Plan looks to increase the annual limits of family-based immigration, as well as eliminate the limits for employment visas. It also exempts family members of green card holders from being restricted by employment-based immigration quotas. This, also, expands the number of green cards available for those looking to immigrate for work opportunities.
Good For the Economy
It is impossible to accurately predict the future. However, history can repeat, and certain things can be foreseen. Kyle Anderson, with the IU Kelley School of Business, asserts that policy decisions such as this one creates small changes over time. Immigration tends to be good for the economy, adding to the labor force.
The increase to the workforce leads to an increase in tax revenue for governments as well as leads to disposable income for the marketplace. With such a large number of American’s on path to retire and create such a burden on programs such as Medicare and Social Security, additional contributors to these systems helps prevent shutdowns and cuts.
What’s in a Name?
Few words are as alienating as “alien.” It emphasizes separation and the creation of an “us” and a “them”. The word has so frequently been used in a derogatory manner that it tends to dehumanize people who are merely seeking a better life. A part of this administration’s immigration plan is to replace the word “alien” with “noncitizen” in United States immigration laws as a way of introducing terminology that suggests a future citizen’s status as just that - a pending citizenship, a future “us” rather than an eternal “them.”
Becoming an American
Unless you were born here, there are a lot of things to do on the path to becoming an American. For many, now maybe the chance to realize the American Dream. President Biden will not have an easy task. There will be detractors, critics and extreme opposition. But he wants to be the President to unite. Let’s wish him well.
Lazaro Law Group, Managing Attorney