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Colorado groups hopeful over Biden's plan for citizenship pathway

Joe Biden
Posted at 7:30 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 09:30:40-05

DENVER — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to deliver on a campaign promise on Day One, sending Congress an extensive immigration reform bill.

A key element of the bill includes an eight-year pathway to citizenship that would benefit about 11 million people who are currently undocumented.

Since moving to the U.S. with her parents at just two years old, Denver resident Paola Grimaldo, has lived in limbo when it comes to her immigration status.

"I honestly felt like an American I didn’t feel any different from my classmates up until the point when my classmates started driving and getting a driver’s license," Grimaldo said.

But those moments of feeling like an outcast could be numbered if President-elect Biden’s immigration plan becomes a reality.

"I’m honestly very hopeful," Grimaldo said.

Biden’s policy he’ll be sending to congress Wednesday includes an eight-year-pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status and will also expand admissions for refugees to the U.S.

"My family has been here for more than 20 years and we’ve been waiting for a day like this," Grimaldo said.

The pathway would allow for five years of temporary status and the chance to earn a green card after meeting requirements like paying taxes and passing a background check. People would be able to apply for citizenship three years later.

"I’m very excited that it is a day one initiative," said Lisa Duran, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.

"The hard part about immigration policy in the United States is that it seems to come too little too late and we’re hoping that does not continue under the Biden administration," Duran said.

The fear of the unknown is something people in Grimaldo’s situation know all too well. Still, she is cautious.

"Although these promises are great we have seen time and time that undocumented immigrants still get left behind and even under the Obama administration deported more people than any other president in US history," Grimaldo said.