Democrats plan to unveil their sweeping new immigration reform proposal this week, NBC News reports.
The Biden administration and congressional Democrats plan to release the “US Citizenship Act of 2021,” a wide-ranging proposal based on priorities that President Joe Biden campaigned on.
The proposal would include a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, an expansion of the refugee resettlement program, and additional security technology at the southern border.
The bill, which is not yet finalized, may also include additional protections for asylum seekers, additional benefits for DREAMers, and a repeal of the public charge immigration rule that prohibits immigrants from using public benefits.
Democrats consider workarounds for roadblocks:
Democrats face an uphill climb in advancing the bill after similar immigration reform efforts died during the Bush and Obama eras despite some bipartisan support.
The Biden administration has suggested breaking the proposal up into several pieces. In such a scenario, Democrats may move to pass bills granting farmworkers and Dreamers legal status while working toward a larger overhaul.
“If certain parts of the bill become building blocks, that’s fine,” Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, told NBC News.
Parts already in motion:
Some parts of Biden’s proposal are already included in existing legislation in the Senate and House.
“This plan is not only about fixing our broken immigration system, but building a better one that reunites families, brings the undocumented community out of the shadows and on a path to citizenship, stands up for human rights, addresses root causes of migration, and includes a smart border security strategy,” Sen. Bob Menendez, who is spearheading the Senate reform push, told NBC.
“From our Dreamers, to the service workers and farmers pulling us through this pandemic, there are too many relying on this reform for us to fail," added Rep. Linda Sanchez, who is leading the effort in the House. "I look forward to working with President Biden as well as my House colleagues to finally make our immigration system more functional, fair, and humane.”