According to activists and advisors close to the President-elect, Joe Biden plans to introduce a wide reaching amnesty bill to Congress within his first days as President.
Biden’s controversial plan includes “a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the country without legal status, according to immigrant rights activists in communication with the Biden-Harris transition team,” the LA Times reported.
Biden’s bill, which is the first piece of immigration legislation of such magnitude proposed by a president in decades, if passed, would legalize the most illegal immigrations in a single swipe of a pen since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, passed by Ronald Reagan.
While Reagan’s bill compromised between Democrats and Republicans by trading the amnesty of 3 million illegal aliens for increased border security funding and a crackdown on companies hiring illegal workers, Biden’s proposal does no such thing.
There are no provisions for border security, increased wall funding, more CBP personnel, and it “doesn’t include the ‘security first’ political concessions of past efforts,” the LA times continued.
Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain sent a memo to senior staffers confirming the hasty timeline, claiming “the immigration bill he will send to Congress on his first day in office,” will “restore humanity to our immigration system.”
If passed migrants would be eligible for permeant residence after spending only 5-years in the United States, down from the current 8-years of legal residency. After another 3-years, permanent residents could apply for citizenship. The whole process of acquiring citizenship would be reduced from 13-years to 8-year. Previously, migrants who entered the country illegally were ineligible for such privileges, but Biden’s plan would allow illegal immigrants to prorate time in the U.S. towards those requirements.
The plan would also “provide a shorter pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of people with temporary protected status and beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” as well as certain ‘front line workers’ working through the pandemic.
President Trump had previously submitted several pathways to citizenship and legal protection for DACA receipts in exchange for increased wall funding. Democrats blockaded those efforts for compromise.
While Biden and his senior advisors will present the immigration bill to Congress within his first days in office, he’s asking advocates not to hold their breath on it passing quickly. “During the meeting, Biden also told advocates not to hold him to ‘100 days’ to pass immigration legislation because impeachment proceedings in the Senate ‘could slow things down,'” Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. told Politico.
The soon-to-be President’s plan may not be as popular with the American people as he’d hope. According to long term polling from Gallup spanning several decades, most Americans (64%) would prefer immigration levels to either not change (36%) or decrease (28%). For the first time since Gallup began recording this poll, more Americans (34%) want to increase immigration. That number, which held steady at less than 10% until the late 90’s, has been spiking in recent years while the number of Americans who want to decrease immigration has been sharply decreasing from its 1995 high of 65%.