When we speak of an immigration reform in the United States, within the legal framework that governs the country’s political-administrative system, we refer to a law with federal status, that is, approved by the National Congress in Washington DC, that enables a legal, reliable and safe route over time so that the undocumented immigrant population -resident- can regularize their immigration status, subject to compliance with specific conditions.

The first step is to facilitate temporary residence for those who qualify, which implies a work permit and social security. The second is to set the conditions under which the beneficiaries of the reform could, eventually, renew or extend their residence and even aspire to citizenship.

When was the last immigration reform carried out?

The last time the Registration Act, a federal law dating back to 1929, was updated was in 1986 during the administration of former Republican President Ronald Reagan. On that occasion, it was determined that all immigrants who had arrived in the United States before 1972 could access permanent residence and, subsequently, citizenship.

What happened during the last decade?

During the Barack OBAMA administration (2009-2017), the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was implemented, a policy that protects around 800,000 young people, known as “dreamers”, from deportation, as a temporary measure. who illegally entered the United States when they were children.

DACA came into force in 2012 through an executive order signed by former President Obama and was interrupted in 2017, as part of the immigration policy – anti-immigrant rhetoric – of the administration of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021), which came to power. promising to deport “illegal” immigrants, tax remittances from undocumented workers, and build a wall on the southern border.

In 2013, former President Barack Obama promoted an immigration plan, but failed to get the proposal to enter the House of Representatives, controlled at that time by the Republican party. President Joe Biden was then serving as Vice President.

What is the current status of immigration reform?

Democratic leaders in the Senate and the Biden-Harris administration saw the reconciliation process as a viable solution to pass the immigration plan. The instrument would allow Democrats to pass immigration reform with 51 votes and avoid obstruction from the Republican block.

As long as the National Congress does not vote on the federal budget, there is hope to include, at least, a partial option of immigration reform (Plan C). The final agreement around the national spending and investment plan could last until mid-October.

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