California Representative Linda Sanchez and New Jersey Senator Bob Mendez, both Democrats, are sponsoring Biden’s immigration bill into Congress. The bill includes the parts that Biden called for during his presidential campaign in his comprehensive immigration legislation proposal and is titled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. It includes an eight year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the United States illegally, a process that gives legal status for agriculture workers and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, and increases border security with more technology and increase detection measures across remote areas of the U.S. - Mexican border areas.
Sanchez acknowledged in questioning that the bill that ultimately passes may be different than what is being introduced, but said any immigration reform is better than “no action.” Also included in the bill is $4 billion to create refugee processing centers in Central America in an attempt to discourage immigrants and refugees trying to actually get to the border and cross it illegally.
Raul Ruiz, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said last week that they are working hard to get votes on two bills, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the Dream and Promise Act, both of which passed the House of Representatives in 2019. These would be additional bills, but not included in Biden’s immigration plan. Both previously passed with bipartisan support.
Under Biden’s plan, DACA recipients and TPS holders as of January 1, 2017 and farm workers will be able to directly apply for a green card. The other groups who are part of the 11 million in the U.S. already will be able to apply for a five year temporary resident status, and if they pay their taxes and do not commit any crimes, they will be able to apply for a Green Card and three years after that, they can apply for citizenship.
Additional money will be allocated for border security, both for enforcement and detection. New technologies to detect illegal border crossing will be deployed and new technology will be set up at border crossing to detect and prevent crime and find contraband.
There is currently some support for a version of Biden’s immigration bill within the Republican Party, mostly among moderate republicans who either represent agricultural areas or urban areas. Most rural and suburban republicans so far haven’t indicated they will support Biden’s bill. It’s been 30 years since the last comprehensive immigration bill was passed by congress.