Biden Immigration Agenda Takes Shape as Lawmakers Unveil Bill

Date: 2021-02-18 14:33:36

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President Joe Biden’s proposed immigration overhaul will be introduced in Congress on Thursday, kicking off what will likely be one of his most difficult legislative challenges.

The legislation, known as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, hews closely to the outline that Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office. The proposal includes an eight-year path to citizenship for most of the roughly 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S., bolsters the nation’s refugee and asylum systems and calls for additional technology to be used to help secure the southern border, administration officials told reporters late Wednesday.

The citizenship path is not explicitly tied to the implementation of border security measures, a trade-off included in past immigration bills designed to earn Republican support.

Representative Linda Sánchez, a California Democrat, will introduce the bill in the House on Thursday, according to an administration official. The bill’s lead sponsor in the Senate, New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, plans to introduce the legislation early next week in the upper chamber, which is now in recess.

Previous attempts at reforming the nation’s immigration system have failed over the past two decades, and Biden’s bill could face an even more daunting path because GOP lawmakers’ opposition to legalizing undocumented immigrants, which they decry as amnesty, hardened during the Trump era.

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