The legislation faces significant hurdles in a divided Senate still reeling from the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump, who often tapped into anti-immigration rhetoric to fire up his campaign rallies.
Democrats in Congress unveiled a sweeping immigration reform bill Thursday that closely aligns with President Joe Biden's vision, offering a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million people. "They came to this country and they work hard and they sacrificed every day to provide for me and my brothers and sisters", she said. You just incentivize more. One existing bill would create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and another would offer citizenship to undocumented immigrant farmworkers.
Republicans have signaled little support for Biden's approach. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, has labeled the Biden plan a "blanket amnesty".
- The number of immigration judges working in the court system would be increased.
"We must protect American workers", Romney said in a tweet Tuesday.
In a rebuke of the previous administration, the legislation would ramp up spending to facilitate the asylum process, and provide funds for more judges as well as legal counsel for children and "vulnerable individuals".
Other provisions in the legislation create a fast-track citizenship process for "Dreamers" - people who were brought to the US by their parents at a young age - as well as some farmworkers and immigrants who previously secured temporary protected status.
The bill would immediately provide green cards to farm workers, those with temporary protected status and young people who arrived in the US illegally as children. They would get a five-year provisional status, then could get a green card and get citizenship three years later. After another three years, they will be able to apply to become citizens.
All applicants must pass background checks and have been in the United States as of January 1, a requirement meant to discourage a migration surge to the southwestern border.
The Biden plan checks off most of the major wish-list items of immigrant-rights activists, including: funding lawyers for some migrants who want to challenge their deportations; granting speedy legal status to "Dreamers" and farm workers; pouring cash into Latin America for nation-building activities; and slashing barriers to legal immigration. Where his predecessor often cast immigrants as criminals, Biden's White House calls them "neighbors, colleagues, parishioners, community leaders, friends, and loved ones".
"We have an economic and moral imperative to pass big, bold, and inclusive immigration reform", Menendez told reporters during a press conference on Thursday. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the son of Cuban immigrants raised in a tenement in Union City, N.J.
The bill will be introduced in the House by California Democrat Linda Sánchez and, a week later, in the upper chamber by Sen.
According to CNN and the Washington Post, administration officials told reporters on Wednesday that it's "just too early to speculate" whether Democrats could approve the bill through budget reconciliation, a voting procedure that only requires a simple majority.
"I am the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico".
Diversity visas, provided to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the USA, would be increased from 50,000 per year to 85,000, according to an administration official.
"We are signalling that these populations are important", an administration official said.