President-elect Joe Biden intends to waste no time with regard to offering a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants inside the country, and Democrats are formulating a plan to put it into action, according to a report.
The plan, which has not been made public, has been described as so “bold” by Politico, that even the most passionate immigration reform advocates are said to be “stunned” after getting an early look at it.
“On Thursday, Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, policy advisers and three Latino Cabinet nominees met with advocates to outline the president-elect’s immigration, coronavirus and economic agendas,” wrote Politico reporters Laura Barrón-López and Sabrina Rodriguez.
Biden apparently intends to act both through executive orders and by pushing the Democratic-controlled House and the Senate to pursue legislative action. Eventual amnesty for up to 11 million people in the country illegally is on the table.
The Los Angeles Times wrote on Twitter the planned reforms “would be the most sweeping and comprehensive immigration package since President Reagan’s in 1986.”
Biden’s proposal would be the most sweeping and comprehensive immigration package since President Reagan’s in 1986
Immigrants would become eligible for legal permanent residence after 5 years and wait 3 more years for U.S. citizenship.https://t.co/z0ImiAT6OM
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 16, 2021
Those who attended the meeting signaled millions of illegal immigrants could be offered an eight-year status as permanent residents. Biden, per the report, will also use executive action on a four-year DACA extension.
Hector Sanchez Barba, head of the Latino voter engagement advocacy group Mi Familia Vota, reportedly saw plans for Biden’s expected action on immigration. Barba would not go into specifics with regard to the plan, but he signaled the action taken will be sweeping.
Barba called the plan “the most aggressive agenda that I have seen on immigration reform from day one — not only the legislative package, but also executive orders.”
Meanwhile, executive director of the female immigrant worker’s group Care in Action Jess Morales Rocketto, who also attended the meeting, added, “We were totally floored by the immigration plan and the level of clarity,” she said.
Biden would like to get a deal done on the immigration reforms in his first 100 days in office. The Politico report signaled he attempted to taper expectations for that during the call.
The expectation is that Congress will utilize some time between now and April time on additional COVID relief legislation that could slow action on immigration. Biden also signaled he believes the Senate will try President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection following his departure from office after he was impeached for a second time in the House this past week.
That could erode the chances for a deal being finalized within the first 100 days
But there is a sense of urgency for immigration advocates who want to see immediate protections for illegal immigrants. Apparently, some fear that without quick action, the Democrats’ immigration reform plans could be dashed as House members begin preparing for their 2022 re-election bids.
“The administration has a very limited window of opportunity before House members begin running for reelection,” Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas said. “Every day that passes is a day that the window shuts just an inch more … We’ve got to get it done in one fell swoop.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, also of Texas, wants Biden to embrace the recommendations of immigrant and labor groups. Castro reportedly intends to author legislation that would cut the eight-year permanent residence status down to five years after which they can apply for US citizenship.
“I hope the Congress and our nation will recognize that these immigrants stepped up when the United States needed the most and put themselves in danger every day by serving as essential workers during this deadly pandemic,” Castro stated.
But lawmakers are reportedly in constant communication with the incoming Biden administration, and with control of both the House and Senate, resistance to the liberal immigration reforms would likely meet little resistance after GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia each lost their respective re-election bids two weeks ago.
The only question about the success of the “bold” immigration reform policy seems to be if Democrats can come to a consensus on what to put into writing with regard to a legislative approach.
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