EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden nears, many proposals of swift changes are expected within the first 100 days in office.
That includes an immigration bill proposal.
The immigration bill is expected to provide a fast track to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. However, it will most likely take some time before Congress makes a final decision.
“We do have very high expectations of this administration and what will be done but for now we are in a wait and see mode,” said Melissa Lopez, executive director of the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS).
Lopez said they’re remaining hopeful about Biden’s immigration bill proposal which could provide an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S.
“With this proposal, we’re finally seeing immigrants being treated as human beings again, being treated with human dignity, and there’s hope again,” Lopez shared, “There’s hope that living in fear, living in the shadows, living in an undocumented status might be a thing of the past for them.”
The bill proposal could also impact “Dreamers,” who are undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
“We have a lot of ‘Dreamers,’ DACA holders that are working in our medical fields right now so this to them opens so many doors. It is literally the key to their future,” Lopez said.
Some El Pasoans said they’re on board with the proposal and anticipate Biden’s presidency.
“With any new president you’re going to see new rules, new changes and hopefully they’re all good,” Brianna Palomo said.
“I think he’s going to do something well to help people get better jobs and everything. That’s what he said and I hope he does it,” Gabriel Herrera said.
Lopez said if the bill does pass, immigration service workers at DMRS will ensure it’s legitimate and valid before starting anyone’s application for citizenship.
“We will vet this before we put anybody in a position of applying and I think with that comes hopefully some level of trust that this is an adequate process. That you can come forward and you can pursue it,” Lopez explained.
DMRS added it’s important to check all your sources if the proposal does become law, and go to reputable organizations along with attorney’s when pursuing these benefits.