Democrats to unveil Biden's US immigration reform bill
Feb 18 2021
And, underscoring the Biden administration's reversal from former president Donald Trump's strident anti-immigration policies, the legislation also proposed to stop branding undocumented immigrants as "aliens" in USA law. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted with Democrats to convict Trump, touted his own measure this week that would increase the minimum wage "while ensuring businesses can not hire illegal immigrants".
- Numerous people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection, known as "Dreamers", who were brought to the United States illegally as children and people with Temporary Protected Status would immediately be eligible to apply for a green card and would have a three-year path to citizenship.
The legislation followed through on President Biden's announcement on 20 January, his first day in office, to overhaul US policies toward undocumented immigrants as well as people arriving at the US-Mexico border seeking to enter for work or as refugees. The bill also expands transnational gang task forces in the region.
Removing factors that spur people to migrate is also a major aim of the legislative push, with $4 billion over four years dedicated to improving conditions and reducing corruption in places that are common origins of migration.
Psaki told reporters that the comprehensive bill would be presented soon "but Congress will have to work through what it looks like moving forward, and what components will be included here and what components could be dealt with separately".
"We are signalling that these populations are important", an administration official said. This move has been applauded by immigrant advocates who see the use of the word as derogatory and dehumanizing.
- The annual per-country limits on many forms of legal immigration would be raised and family reunifications would speed up for green card holders. It would eliminate the penalty barring those immigrants who live in the USA without authorization and who then leave the country from returning for three to 10 years.
A senior administration official acknowledged that was intentional.
Where he called for ending the diversity lottery that gives away green cards by random chance, the Biden plan increases the number from 55,000 to 80,000.
Representative Linda Sanchez will introduce the bill in the House of Representatives and Senator Robert Menendez was expected to introduce it in the Senate next week. Biden had a front-row seat to former President Barack Obama's failure to deliver lasting change to the immigration system.
Several questions remain, including whether the legislation will become watered-down over negotiations with Republicans and whether the package will be broken into parts.
Conversely, if they wait for Republican support, Congress could be looking at another failed attempt at immigration reform.