MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - President Joe Biden already using several executive orders to start enacting his agenda just hours after his inauguration.
Biden signed 17 executive orders were Wednesday, multiple focused on undocumented individuals in this country, including stopping the construction of the border wall and requiring non-citizens to be included in the U.S. Census.
Immigration advocates say they believe he is setting the tone for his presidency.
“I’m not surprised, but I am excited,” said Attorney Casey Bryant with Advocates for Immigrant Rights. " The last four years have been really hell on our clients and affected greatly the work that we do.”
Bryant is the executive director for Advocates for Immigrant Rights, a non-profit law firm in Memphis.
Bryant applauds the executive orders but says they’re just temporary fixes.
Biden plans to send legislation to Congress to modernize the country’s immigration system and create a pathway to citizenship.
Bryant says her clients are constantly worried about their legal status.
“I mean over the last four years it’s been difficult this back and forth about their status is going to be something they can expect next year or not, whether it’s going to last one year or two, each time they renew they have to pay another filing fee that’s almost $500,” said Bryant.
Biden’s proposed bill will allow undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status, with the ability to apply for green cards after five years if they pass national security background checks and pay their taxes.
Dreamers or “undocumented youth”, can apply for green cards immediately.
The executive director for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition said in a statement:
“Now we have the opportunity to deliver the future we’ve envisioned for our communities. Together with our members, we will push the new administration to use every tool at their disposal to deliver on their promises.”
Biden also plans to allow immigrants with approved family sponsorship to join family in the United States.