President Joe Biden unveiled a massive new immigration bill on Thursday morning that advances the goals of the Democrat Party, ranging from altering legal terms to providing a pathway to citizen for illegal aliens. Leftwing activists are already calling on Democrats to eliminate the filibuster if Republicans do not support the bill in order to ram the bill through without bipartisan support.
The bill will face stiff opposition as Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi only has a five-vote margin to work with and the Senate is tied at 50-50, with the tie breaker going to Vice President Kamala Harris.
The bill includes a proposed reduction of a 13-year pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens to just eight years. The bill also removes the legal term “alien” from U.S. immigration laws and replaces it with “noncitizen,” part of a larger move to minimize the crime of unlawfully entering the United States.
The bill also sends billions of American taxpayer dollars to Latin America in what Biden claims is an effort to address the root causes of illegal immigration to the U.S. Critics often point to America’s lax immigration laws and economic/welfare incentives, known as “magnets,” as a major contributing factor in what draws massive waves of migrants to the U.S. border.
The bill provides funding for more immigration judges and puts an emphasis on access to counsel. It authorizes funding for counsel for children and vulnerable individuals, and eliminates the one-year limit for filing an asylum case.
The measure would also repeal the bars to reentering the United States if an individual had previously been illegally residing in the country.
It increases the number of available so-called diversity visas, which are awarded by random selection in select countries to promote immigration from places that don’t otherwise send many immigrants to the US. The bill would up the number of visas granted annually from 55,000 to 80,000, according to an administration official.
The legislation proposes creating a commission composed of employers, labor unions and civil rights advocates to make recommendations on improving worker verification, according to an administration official. The measure would also increase protections for immigrants who come forward to report labor violations and increase penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.
“There’s things that I would deal by itself, but not at the expense of saying, ‘I’m never going to do the other,'” Biden said at a CNN town hall event this week. “There is a reasonable path to citizenship.”
News of the immigration bill spurred left-wing immigration activists to push the administration to eliminate the filibuster if Republicans refuse to go along with Biden’s plans.
“If Republicans come forward with ideas and votes, then it might be viable to press for reform on a bipartisan basis. But we should be clear-eyed about the realities of the current Republican Party, its bad faith towards Biden and its cowardly fealty to the vocal contingent of Trumpy anti-immigrant voters,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, said, according to USA Today. “If Democrats eliminate or reform the filibuster, this bill would have a chance to pass with Democratic votes alone.”
Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer at RAICES, also called for ending the filibuster, according to USA Today, adding: “Now is the time for Democrats to use every tool at their disposal to provide protection to the immigrant community without relying on the party of Trump and without compromising on further inhumane enforcement.”