"We have an economic and moral imperative to pass big, bold, and inclusive immigration reform", Menendez told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.
White House officials called the bill a chance to "reset and restart conversations on immigration reform", labeling the bill as Biden's "vision of what it takes to fix the system". That, too, would be a reversal from the broader targeting policy of the Customs and Immigration Enforcement under Trump.
However, the plan doesn't contain any details on enhanced border security, which past measures have included as a way to win Republican votes.
Biden has pledged to make citizenship available to an estimated 11 million long-term undocumented immigrants live in the United States. These people would have immediate access to green cards and a three-year path to citizenship as long as they arrived before January 1.
The plan would raise the current per-country caps for family and employment-based immigrant visas. It also would provide resources for more judges, support staff and technology to address the backlog in processing asylum seekers.
Since coming to power, Biden has announced a push to reform immigration and roll back his predecessor's hardline policies, including with the creation of a special task force to reunite families separated by Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy towards undocumented immigrants. And it would set up refugee processing in Central America, to try to prevent some of the immigrant caravans that have overwhelmed border security in recent years.
"If Republicans want to come forward and work on immigration, I think the president is open to working with anyone who wants to get something done and get a bill to his desk", said a senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday to discuss the early negotiations. Prior to that, a bill backed by President George W. Bush failed in Congress as well, after multiple attempts at compromise.
Republican immigration hardliners were already panning the bill Thursday. "Let's focus on those Americans who are struggling right now".
"President Biden's radical proposal is a nonstarter and should be rejected by Congress", he said.
Biden indicated at a CNN town hall Tuesday night that he is open to alternate routes to citizenship - such as stand-alone bills that would legalize smaller groups of immigrants such as farmworkers - but he called the bill "a reasonable path to citizenship".