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Biden Wants to Remove Controversial Word From U.S. Immigration Laws

Biden’s proposed immigration reform bill will remove the word “alien” from U.S. immigration laws and replace it with “noncitizen.”

This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

If President Biden’s proposed immigration reform bill is passed, it will remove the word “alien” from U.S. immigration laws and will replace it with “noncitizen.” It is a step to acknowledge America as “a nation of immigrants,” a summary of the bill says. During former President Donald Trump’s term, top federal officials encouraged use of the term “illegal alien” while some local governments, including New York City’s, moved to ban it. “The language change on the first day of this administration, with Kamala Harris the daughter of immigrants, to me it’s not just symbolic… it’s foundational,” said Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant and founder of Define American. CNN Politics 

In other national immigration news…

Trump Blocked Venezuelans’ Deportations Before His Term Ended

Before Trump’s term officially ended, he moved on Tuesday night to block the deportation of tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants. The former president signed an executive order delaying the deportation of more than 145,000 Venezuelans for 18 months. Trump said the “deteriorative condition” in Venezuela was the main reason for his decision. According to the Center for Migration Studies in New York, about 350,000 Venezuelans live in the U.S., and 146,000 of them do not have a legal status. Syracuse University’s TRAC immigration database reports that since 2018, over 700 Venezuelans were deported from the U.S. The Associated Press 

Biden Ends Trump’s Muslim Ban

On his first day in office, Biden ended Trump’s Muslim Ban, which blocked people from seven mainly Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. Biden also ended another ban that impacted four African nations. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said the order advises the State Department to return to its usual processing of green card and visa applications for individuals impacted by the bans. Biden is also asking the State Department to assist those whose applications were denied under the ban and those whose applications are stuck in limbo. Immigration lawyers said it could take more than a year for immigration from these countries to resume. Mother Jones 

Undocumented Farmworkers Can Apply for Green Cards Under Biden Law

Undocumented farmworkers will be eligible to apply for green cards immediately if Biden’s immigration legislation becomes law. The law allows migrant farmworkers to apply for permanent residency if they worked in agriculture for at least 100 days during four of the last five years. Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would benefit close to 1 million undocumented farmworkers and is expected to pave a three-year path to citizenship for workers who become legal permanent residents, as well as DACA and TPS recipients. There are currently about 2.4 million farmworkers in the U.S., and most are immigrants. Desert Sun 

Migrants in Mexico Remain Hopeful for Biden’s Immigration Reform

Thousands of individuals are stranded south of the border thanks to the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols. The rule forces asylum seekers to wait for immigration court hearings in dangerous Mexico border cities instead of the U.S. Children and adults have been raped, kidnapped, and killed while waiting. Biden promised to get rid of MPP and improve the asylum process, giving hope to asylum seekers who are waiting for their court dates. Still, activists have been trying to make it clear to migrants that these changes cannot happen overnight. The Guardian

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