President Biden favors granting undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and in January he introduced a bill in Congress that would have afforded practically all of them a pathway to citizenship in the United States.
- Under the House provision, at least 7 million undocumented immigrants would be granted “parole.” Additionally, the measure would restore almost 400,000 unused green cards.
- The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act established a pathway to citizenship for roughly 3 million immigrants.
- Undocumented immigrants would have the opportunity to apply for work permits and travel back to their home countries.
- Work permits would be valid for five years and renewable once. Democrats are keen to codify protections in law to fend off the kinds of legal challenges that have knocked executive programs to a halt.
Concessions with Republicans broke down as attempted border crossings surpassed 1.7 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, and Democrats have resorted to their next best option: reconciliation.
Congress has not enacted a citizenship bill since Republican President Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which put almost 3 million immigrants on a course to citizenship. The Act was also intended to permanently eliminate illegal immigration, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated in his memoir, but the numbers instead rose.
Similarly, the bill would restore over 400,000 expired green cards unused owing to bureaucracy or pandemic-related delays. Green cards are often issued to permanent residents on a path to citizenship who are sponsored by relatives or companies. Others are selected for green cards in the annual diversity visa lottery.
Work permit program
The House provision would grant “parole” to at least 7 million undocumented immigrants, allowing them to enter the US if they apply, pay a fee, and undergo background checks. They can then apply for permits, authorization to travel outside the US, and driver’s licenses.
To qualify, immigrants need to have come before Jan. 1, 2011 and have remained in the United States since then. Work permits would be valid for five years and renewable once, providing protections until September 2031.
So while far from a route to citizenship, the measure would transform immigrants’ lives in the United States by allowing them to apply for permission to travel to their native countries for the first time in years, if not decades, and acquire official government-issued identification such as state driver’s licenses, which the majority of states do not offer to undocumented immigrants, including Texas, which is home to more than 1.6 million undocumented immigrants, the second-largest number of undocumented immigrants in the
Aspects at stake
The majority of undocumented immigrants face minimal risk under the Biden administration, which will deport only public safety threats and recent border crossers. However, Democrats argue that incorporating immigration protections now is vital because a future president may overturn Biden’s policies. Democrats are also keen to codify the protections in statute to fend off the forms of court challenges that have toppled Obama-era executive programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). A federal judge in Texas has curtailed DACA, finding that the executive branch exceeded its jurisdiction and that the program ought to have been set up by Congress.
Biden’s Spending Bill “Build Back Better”
The very recent: House Democrats approved an over $2 trillion bill revamping the nation’s health care, climate, education, and tax systems.
What’s in the bill? This page offers a comprehensive overview of the spending bill’s contents and the ramifications for America.
Uncovering the bill: The bill revolutionizes the government’s role in Americans’ daily lives. This section highlights specifics on the plan’s principal components: healthcare, taxation, the child tax credit, paid family leave, early childhood education, climate change, affordable housing, eldercare, infrastructure, and immigration.