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López Obrador urges Biden administration to give legal status to Mexicans working in US

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador urged incoming President Joe Biden to provide legal immigration status to Mexican nationals working in the U.S. 

“We have been proposing that our countrymen who have been working for years should be regularized, contributing to the development of that great nation,” Lopez Obrador said during a press briefing just ahead of Biden’s swearing in on Wednesday.

Mexicans accounted for just over half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Migration Policy Institute, though the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in the U.S. is on the decline.

The request marks the latest lobbying effort toward the incoming administration from America’s southern neighbor as Biden plans to roll out an expansive immigration plan through legislation and executive actions.

The Biden administration will send the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress shortly after the president-elect is sworn in Wednesday. The legislation would provide a pathway to green cards for certain immigrants, including beneficiaries of temporary protected status and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Recipients would then be able to apply for citizenship three years after obtaining a green card. 

Other immigrants who do not fall into that category would be eligible for a pathway to citizenship over the course of eight years. 

The legislation also seeks to expand certain visa programs, boost funding for border security and allocate $4 billion over four years to address corruption, poverty and other issues in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that have fueled migration to the U.S.

“The American pubic know their immigration is not working the way it should be, and we need a complete overhaul that both protects the American people but is also consistent with our values, and that’s what the president-elect intends to do with this legislation,” an incoming White House official told reporters in a call detailing the package.

Biden also plans on signing an executive order expanding the DACA program and guaranteeing that undocumented immigrants are tallied in the census. He’s also immediately pausing construction on the border wall.

Tags Andrés Manuel López Obrador biden administration Biden inauguration Immigration to the United States Inauguration Joe Biden Mexico

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