Sunday, 28 February, 2021

Biden, congressional Democrats to unveil immigration bill with path to citizenship

President Biden and congressional Democrats to unveil immigration bill Dems To Introduce Biden's Immigration Bill To Speed Up Pathway To Citizenship On Thursday
Ginger Lawrence | 18 February, 2021, 21:52

The White House on Tuesday reaffirmed that President Biden backs a controversial plan to create a pathway to citizenship to at least 11 million illegal immigrants - as the White House and congressional Democrats are expected to formally unveil a sweeping immigration bill as soon as this week. They would get a five-year provisional status, then could get a green card and get citizenship three years later.

The bill would immediately provide green cards to farm workers, those with temporary protected status and young people who arrived in the USA illegally as children. Anyone who entered the country illegally after that date would not qualify.

A pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants in the country has always been a top item on liberal wishlists, and Biden promised such a plan if elected.

Diversity visas, provided to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S., would be increased from 50,000 per year to 85,000, according to an administration official.

- Grants would be made available to local educational agencies to provide services to unaccompanied migrant children.

It tries to prevent people from taking the risky journey north by setting up refugee processing centers in Central America.

The bill would expand transnational anti-drug task forces in Central America and enhances technology at the border.

"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.

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Under existing law, anyone convicted of an aggravated felony or a crime involving illegal narcotics is not admissible in the U.S.

Undocumented immigrants would also no longer face a three to 10-year ban from the United States for leaving and attempting to reenter the country.

The bill also reforms legal immigration processes by no longer counting spouses and minor children against a country's share of allotted visas.

A senior administration official acknowledged that was intentional.

The proposal also boosts the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, aka the green card lottery, from 55,000 visas to 80,000.

The White House said Wednesday it remains in "close contact" with states hard hit by the winter weather and frigid temperatures that have knocked out power to millions.

It does not appear that Biden and the Democrats have enough Republican support they would need to pass this in a bipartisan manner.

Several questions remain, including whether the legislation will become watered-down over negotiations with Republicans and whether the package will be broken into parts. Soon after taking office, Biden also imposed a 100-day moratorium on deportations, although that order was suspended by a United States judge.