Democrats have introduced a sweeping immigration reform measure that would provide a path to citizenship for many undocumented immigrants. But it could be a tall task getting it passed.
The legislation is called the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. It would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for many undocumented people living in the country.
For farm workers, people with temporary protected status and those who were brought to this country illegally as children, known as dreamers — it would be much quicker.
But the thin majorities Democrats hold in the House and Senate mean they’ll need to get at least 10 Republicans on board.
While immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York is hopeful for the legislation, political experts say getting it passed will likely require some compromise.
“This might be a time in history where it can get done. It’s probably not going to get done in its current form,” says political expert Mike Dawidziak. “Under the current rules you’re going to need Republican support.”
Rodman Serrano, with Make the Road New York, says this bill represents a drastic change from Trump-era policies that he says often vilified people who were in this country illegally.
“It represents an opportunity for us to create a more just and humane immigration system, one that is also inclusive,” says Serrano. “That includes not just dreamers, but also their parents.”
Lawmakers in Washington have talked about possibly splitting this legislation into smaller bills to get some key provisions passed.
In response to the bill proposal, Rep. Lee Zeldin says, “Our nation’s immigration system is flawed and in need of fixes. Strengthening border security and interior enforcement must not get ignored in this conversation. I will look forward to fully reviewing President Biden’s massive immigration proposal, but am already concerned by multiple glaring red flags.”