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An estimated 11 million people living in the United States without legal status will most likely be provided an eight-year path to citizenship when Joe Biden officially takes office as President. This will be part of a sweeping immigration bill to be unveiled by the new government, a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies.

After four years of President Trump’s restrictive policies and mass deportations, this legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities.

For persons living without legal status, this provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favored by many Republicans, making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.

Expected to run hundreds of pages, the bill is set to be introduced after Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday.

Joe Biden as a candidate criticized Trump’s actions on immigration, calling them an “unrelenting assault” on American values, and pledged he would “undo the damage” while continuing to maintain border enforcement.

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 some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status, could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school, or meet other requirements.

SOURCE: Associated Press