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Biden wants $4bn aid to central America to reduce migration

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/26/2021 Associated Press
Joe Biden, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are posing for a picture: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Mexico's president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Joe Biden told him the U.S. would send $4 billion to help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala - nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States.

López Obrador, who spoke Friday with Biden by phone, said the two discussed immigration and the need to address the root causes of why people migrate.

Mexico has stopped recent attempts by caravans of Central American migrants to cross Mexico.

Biden's call with López Obrador also came at a tense moment - days after the Mexican president accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of fabricating drug trafficking charges against the country´s former defense secretary.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Dispersed: A migrant caravan which tried to make its way north from Honduras to Guatemala was broken up just 30 miles across the Guatemalan border last week, before Biden's inauguration © Provided by Daily Mail Dispersed: A migrant caravan which tried to make its way north from Honduras to Guatemala was broken up just 30 miles across the Guatemalan border last week, before Biden's inauguration

While Mexico continues to pledge to block mass movements of Central American migrants toward the U.S. border, there has been no shortage of potential flashpoints between the two countries.

Mexico demanded the return of former Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos after he was arrested in Los Angeles in October, threatening to restrict U.S. agents in Mexico if he wasn't returned. U.S. prosecutors agreed to drop charges and return Cienfuegos to Mexico.

But Mexico passed a law restricting foreign agents and removing their immunity anyway, and went on to publish the U.S. case file against Cienfuegos, whom Mexican prosecutors quickly cleared of any charges.

López Obrador said in a statement Friday that the conversation with Biden was 'friendly and respectful.'

The White House said Biden mentioned 'reversing the previous administration´s draconian immigration policies.'

BIDEN'S IMMIGRATION REFORMS

PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

Every undocumented immigrant present in the U.S. on January 1, 2021 would be able to apply for a path to citizenship.

They would first apply for temporary legal status to remain in the country, which after five years can be converted to green cards, which give the unrestricted right to work and travel out of the U.S. 

Converting to a green card will depend on passing criminal and homeland security background checks, and having paid taxes. 

After three years of green card status, they will be able to apply for citizenship. To get citizenship, there will be more background checks, a civics test and an English test.

The number of illegal immigrants the path would apply to is unknown but there are estimates that the U.S. has as many as 11 million undocumented aliens. 

'DREAMERS' CAN GET CITIZENSHIP IMMEDIATELY

More than 800,000 people who have legal status under DACA and other groups with Temporary Protected Status will be able to skip straight to applying for citizenship. 

Recipients of DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - have had a question mark over their status throughout the Trump administration but Biden's move signal that any legal attempts to end it by the administration will end.

Temporary Protected Status includes refugees from South Sudan, Syria, Haiti and Honduras . The precise number who hold the status is close to 500,000.

THE WORD ALIEN IS GONE

The Biden plan would replace the word 'alien' in federal law with 'non-citizen.'

The word was first used in 1798 and has been the standard legal description for non-citizens in federal law since, but has been criticized as 'polarizing' by immigrant groups, and removed from legal descriptions in Democratic-controlled places such as New York City and the state of California.  

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