SIULAW Prof. Cindy Buys breaks down President Biden’s immigration reform proposal in this interview with St. Louis NBC affiliate, KSDK

January 26, 2021 , Justina Coronel | KSDK


ST. LOUIS — In his first three days in office, President Joe Biden signed 30 executive orders.

Most of them deal with the economy and fighting the coronavirus.

He also signed several orders on immigration reversing many of Trump's policies.

Biden is proposing an immigration reform proposal that would change the US immigration system.

It's called the US Citizenship Act of 2021. 

"There has not been a comprehensive reforms, since the mid 1990s, at least. The Trump Administration was not in favor of large amounts of immigration for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest drops in immigration has actually been among refugees. We would resettle maybe 70 to 80,000 and now, it's less than 30,000 a year," Cindy Buys, an immigration law expert with SIU, said.

For Buys, she says she's looking at which pieces are most likely to pass and which are pieces are more likely to be changed along the way. 

She's confident in DACA. 

That's the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It's designed to protect "Dreamers," undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

President Biden wants to put them on a fast-track to citizenship.

Buys believes this will likely move forward.

"I think there's a lot of support for giving lawful status to these young people who are brought here by their parents didn't make choice to come here undocumented," she said.

One of the more controversial proposals?

Buys believes it's an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and as long as they meet certain requirements. 

"They have no criminal record and they pay taxes, they pass background checks, that sort of thing," Buys said. 

Biden also wants to fund border security measures rather than a wall and provide assistance to countries with high numbers of immigrants.

"Economic aid and additional education and training for people in Central America to try to help them be able to stay safely in their own homes. I think it would be a wonderful thing and relieve strain on both sides of the border," Buys said.

Some Republican lawmakers are opposing this immigration plan, like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley.

NBC News reports that he has "very serious concerns" about the policy.

He even delayed a Senate vote to confirm the new Homeland Security Secretary saying they need to first explain the enforcement of immigration laws.

Watch the video here.