US House Democrats follow Senate with Citizenship Bill for 'Dreamers,' others

Ruben Fields
February 19, 2021

His administration and congressional Democrats are under pressure from immigration advocates to act quickly to move the bill, but it's unclear how quickly they will pursue passage.

While Biden is pushing a comprehensive bill, he suggested earlier this week he may be open to a more piecemeal approach.

The bill is backed by President Biden, who during the election promised to remake the nation's immigration system so as to reflect America's "highest values", following what he called the suffering under the misguided policies of the Trump administration. During a CNN town hall Tuesday night, he said that while a pathway to citizenship would be essential in any immigration bill, "there's things I would deal by itself".

Republicans criticized the plan, with Sen.

- Numerous people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection, known as "Dreamers", who were brought to the United States illegally as children and people with Temporary Protected Status would immediately be eligible to apply for a green card and would have a three-year path to citizenship.

People benefiting from Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which prevents the deportation of citizens from countries affected by natural disasters or conflict, and farmworkers who can show a history of employment in the United States will also be able to get permanent residence. These people would have immediate access to green cards and a three-year path to citizenship as long as they arrived before January 1.

Millions of other undocumented immigrants would be allowed to apply for citizenship after eight years, longer than the current five-year requirement but shorter than the path the Senate approved in 2013. Bob Menendez, are set to unveil the full text of the bill.

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The bill would expand transnational anti-drug task forces in Central America and enhance technology at the border. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the son of Cuban immigrants raised in a tenement in Union City, N.J.

However, getting the legislation passed, particularly in the Senate, is a tall order: Democratic senators, despite having a majority in the chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris' deciding vote, would need 10 Republican votes to do so thanks to the filibuster.

A recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program leads a protest near the White House in Washington, on June 12, 2020.

"While the Biden administration rightly acknowledges that immigrants are our family members, our coworkers, and our neighbors, for now it has chosen to continue giving ICE officers significant discretion to conduct operations that harm our communities and tear families apart", Shah added.

"There is a point where Joe Biden is going to have to decide", said Nicole Melaku, executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans, a coalition of immigrant advocacy groups.

Senior administration officials who promoted the bill late Wednesday repeatedly declined to say whether they are considering using the reconciliation process to pass citizenship.

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