Biden’s got a plan. And it’s a bold one, immigration advocates say.
In preparation for President-elect Joe Biden to drop a sweeping immigration reform bill as soon as he enters office, congressional Democrats and advocates are drafting legislation, taking the temperature of Republicans — and gearing up for what they hope will be the defining chapter in a decadeslong battle to pass a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants.
Biden has said he plans to “immediately” introduce an immigration bill after taking office on Wednesday. And top Latino and immigrant advocacy groups who’ve seen details of the coming package said they were stunned by the boldness of Biden’s plan.
Hector Sanchez Barba, head of Mi Familia Vota, who has criticized Biden on immigration policy in the past, wouldn’t share specific details discussed in the private meeting. Still, he said, Biden’s plan “is the most aggressive agenda that I have seen on immigration reform from day one — not only the legislative package, but also executive orders.”
In the meeting, Susan Rice, who will lead Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, was adamant that the incoming administration wasn’t about to introduce comprehensive immigration reform to simply let it sit on a shelf, said Jess Morales Rocketto, executive director of Care in Action.
“We were totally floored by the immigration plan and the level of clarity,” she said.
Domingo Garcia, a board member and former president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said Biden’s team told attendees of the meeting the bill would give 11 million undocumented immigrants a pathway for citizenship, with an eight-year wait as a permanent resident. Biden also plans an executive order instituting a “four-year extension” of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.