Democrats will introduce an immigration bill by the end of this week that includes pathways to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.
The legislation will allow migrants to apply for temporary legal status, and after a period of five years they would be allowed to apply for a green card, according to a White House fact sheet. Migrants brought to the U.S. as children (Dreamers), Temporary Protected Status holders, and some farmworkers would be able to apply for a green card immediately once the bill is passed.
Senator Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) will introduce the bill in the Senate, while a Democratic representatives will bring the legislation to the House. With the Senate divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, and Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote, Democrats have a chance of passing key immigration proposals as long as their entire Senate caucus is on board.
“With a Democratic majority in both Chambers, and an overwhelming majority of the public on our side — as well as a number of legislative tools at our disposal — I believe we will be successful in finally securing permanent solutions,” Representative Linda Chavez (D., Calif.) said in a statement to CNN.
President Biden has already rescinded several Trump-administration immigration policies, including canceling the “Remain in Mexico” program and ending agreements to deport asylum seekers to Central American nations. The reforms come as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol recorded an increase in illegal border crossings in January, partly in anticipation of looser immigration policies.
The White House sent a memo to immigration officials earlier this week urging them to stop using the term “illegal alien” in their communications, arguing that the term, which has been part of the U.S. code for decades, is offensive to illegal immigrants.