Joe Biden vowed on Tuesday to send a bill to the Senate that would set up a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
The president-elect’s team has already indicated that Biden will attempt to overturn much of President Trump’s immigration agenda, including reinstating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and rescinding the Remain in Mexico policy.
“I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,” Biden told NBC’s Lester Holt.
Such a bill would likely be dead on arrival if Republicans hold on to their Senate majority. Georgia senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are both facing runoffs on January 5, and if one of them wins, Republicans will hold 51 seats in the chamber. However, if Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both win the runoffs, the Senate will be tied 50-50, allowing vice president-elect Kamala Harris to serve as the tie-breaker.
Biden also plans to implement a 100-day freeze on deportations before reinstating Obama-era guidance that limits deportations to criminal offenders.
Once Biden takes office, his administration will likely be preoccupied with vaccine distribution and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. While the Biden administration will eventually attempt to overhaul Trump’s immigration agenda, the process will still take time.
The Trump administration had an extraordinary preoccupation with immigration issues and they invested an enormous amount of attention and single-minded focus on immigration,” Doris Messiner, a former immigration official, told CBS earlier this month.. “An administration that wants to undo those changes would have to devote a similar amount of time and effort — and arguably more, because you don’t want to just be undoing things.”