TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)—President-elect Joe Biden is expected to address immigration with swift executive action and legislation as soon as he takes office this week.
According to reports, Biden will propose an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status.
“It’s a path that doesn’t exist, it won’t be quick,” local immigration attorney Richard Maney explained. “Florida is a magnet for foreign nationals and I think a lot of people will be affected.”
Biden’s plan also includes increased security patrols and new technology at the United States, Mexican border.
Immigrants in the U.S. without legal status as of Jan. 1 would be put on a five-year track to temporary legal status. Then there’s an additional three-year track to naturalization.
“They don’t want to reward not having legal status. There has to be some sort of penalty for that, part of that will be the fine,” Maney says.
If the legislation passes, the changes could have more of an impact in Tampa than other areas of the country, according to Maney.
“Florida attracts a lot of foreign nationals. The Bay Area is particularly good for foreign nationals because of the economy, because of the education system, they’re drawn here because of the climate,” he explained.
Biden is expected to issue executive orders lifting the Muslim travel ban and to introduce protection for Dreamers, those who entered the U.S. illegally as young children.
“For them to have the opportunity to work for American employers to help America become competitive, I think the community would feel that,” Maney said.
Members of the GOP are pushing back against the reform.
“There are many issues I think we can work cooperatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement.