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Joe Biden's presidency could be a great sigh of relief for Indians, as the Democrats' mandate had assured of working towards providing a roadmap to American citizenship to nearly 1.1 crore undocumented migrants, of which, over five lakh are Indians.
Citizenship was one of the major concerns for Indians under the Trump administration. In contrast, Democrats are seen to be more liberal on immigration. According to the policy document of Biden's campaign, he has assured of supporting family-based immigration, work-based immigration, and increasing the number of visas offered for permanent and reformation in the temporary visa system. He has also asserted to restore the naturalisation process for green cardholders.
"Biden will immediately begin working with Congress to pass legislative immigration reform that modernises our system, with a priority on keeping families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants -- including more than 500,000 from India," the document as quoted by Bloomberg Quint.
Biden's administration will also establish a minimum admission number of 95,000 refugees annually, and seek to raise it over time.
The administration will also remove uncertainties regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA). DACA is an immigration policy launched during Obama administration that allows some non-US citizens with unlawful presence in the country or who are brought in as children to qualify to stay in the country for two years, subject to renewal.
The recipients of DACA are commonly known as Dreamers. The programme helps protect families from inhumane separation in all legal ways. To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanours on their records.
The Trump administration had approached the Supreme Court to put an end to the DACA program, but the top court blocked the attempt in a 5-4 ruling. Even after the judgment, his administration pledged to end it, leaving thousands of people in a state of void.
The government will also repeal President Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban,' the document further read. Trump had imposed a controversial travel ban on various Muslim countries, often referred to as a 'Muslim ban', on several Muslim majority countries, including Iran and Syria. It was often referred to as 'Muslim Ban' by the critics.
Given the novel coronavirus pandemic, Trump had implemented a series of restrictions that kept many legal immigrants and travellers from entering the country. It included travel bans from Brazil, China, Europe and Iran to prevent the spread of the virus.
His administration also barred entry of certain immigrants seeking permanent residence and temporary foreign workers, including workers with H-1B visas, stating that there was a need to protect American jobs. However, a federal judge in October blocked Trump's foreign worker ban.
Biden has been one of the biggest critics of some of the restrictions. His campaign official told Reuters that his government would rectify it and will impose guidelines on pandemic after consulting public health officials and experts.
Biden's immigration plan also includes ending the diversion of Pentagon funds to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and invest that in screening infrastructure at ports of entry, reported the media. He also promised reunification of migrant children separated from their families under Trump policies.
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