The US president, Joe Biden, has introduced a new proposal, i.e., ‘The US Citizenship Act 2021′, as soon as he took charge of the office. It is supposed to be a revolutionary reform for immigration in the US. It aims to address one of the country’s most significant issues – many illegal immigrants.
While Trump’s administration took a rather harsh approach to deal with this issue, Biden is not following in his footsteps. Instead, his administration has introduced the Senate as well as the House. If all goes well, undocumented arrivals, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and international students will be significantly affected.
But will it be a negative or a positive change? Read on to know more about it.
What does the bill plan to change?
The proposal for the ‘US citizenship Act 2021’ (USCA) was put forward on 18th February 2021 by representative Linda Sanchez and senator Bob Mendez in their chambers. It consists of mainly three features:
- Eight years pathway for gaining citizenship by many of the undocumented immigrants
- Modestly reforming the immigration laws
- Clearing the backlog present on the southern border
If this bill is approved, then it would mean that the undocumented immigrants residing in the country as of 1st January 2021 will get a chance to become a citizen. It also allows the DACA program recipients to allow for a green card. They will be given the status of ‘non-citizenship before becoming a legal citizen of the US.
The bill also aims to extend a helping hand to the international students in the US by letting them stay in the country. However, the focus is on those who are pursuing a Ph.D. in STEM subjects. This is an attempt to increase the number of international students in the country by increasing their employment opportunities.
More about USCA
The bill aims to undo the damage done by Trump’s Administration and is a way to restore faith in ‘humanity.’ Linda Sánchez, US representative, has spoken to the reporters about the positive changes that the bill wants to bring it.
According to Sánchez, it will help boost the country’s economy as it will mend the existing yet damaged immigration system. She believes that it will lead to the creation of more jobs and improve worker’s wages. Moreover, it will modernize the places of entry into the country as well as the border area.
The bill also plans to attack the root cause of people wanting to gain entry into the country. The USCA will allow the US administration to work with Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and Salvador. There will be designated processing centers where refugees will be carefully processed, and efforts will be made to reunite them with their extended family in the US.
There are also provisions to increase border security in the bill. It plans to invest a generous amount using smart technology to ensure border safety and prevent criminal organizations’ activities.
All is good?
Not really. While the USCA might seem like a great solution at the moment, it can harm people. The Biden Administration needs to handle the proceedings carefully to deal with the massive group of people at the US-Mexican Border.
The chaos can be attributed to the campaigning strategies used by the current US president. Biden promised to ease up the control of immigration. Moreover, the latest proposal has made many immigrants believe that they may become legal citizens in the US. All this is creating more chaos as migrants are piling up at the border.
The number of immigrants, who tried to break into the country, has increased this year compared to the previous year. More than 100,000 immigrants have attempted to enter the country in February 2021. This highlights the need for tightening the laws and puts the lives of these immigrants at risk.
Most of the immigrants have to travel through unfavorable terrain to enter the country. Not only does it put the adults at risk but the children as well. According to the Washington Post Reporter, Nick Miroff, there are around 3500 stranded minors at the detention cells of Border Patrol, and about 1000 of them have exceeded the period required to be transferred to a shelter.
While Biden’s intentions are good, he is unprepared for the current situation. The officials at the White House have not commented directly on the matter. The Biden Administration needs to own up a problem and make proper strategies to execute their plan.
Does it stand a chance?
While the bill for USCA sounds extremely promising, it still has a long way to cover. It needs to be passed both in the House as well as the Senate. Only then can it be implemented to undo the damage done by the previous administration of the country.
The real challenge is to convince the Republicans to give their approval for this bill. Most of them are against providing legal citizenship status to all the undocumented immigrants, and democrats are only present in both the chambers in a smaller quantity. However, the bills that provide a narrower version of immigrant protection still have a fighting chance, and the Democrats believe in taking this ‘part by part’ approach in easing the lives of the immigrants.
Moreover, the bill might meet a similar fate like that of a similar one introduced in 2013. The 2013 bill was identical to the current one but less broad. Although it was passed by the Senate where Democrats were a majority, it was opposed by theRepublic majority in the House of representatives.
The bill needs at least 60 votes to get passed. But currently, the Republicans do not feel that it is the ideal time to pass such a bill due to the border crisis. These are the same senators who may have supported a similar kind of bill.
In conclusion, it can be said that the USCA is a positive yet ambitious attempt to legalize the position of several immigrants in the country. If approved, it can radically change the undocumented immigrants’ lives or, as Biden likes to call them, ‘Dreamers.’ It would also pay attention to DACA recipients’ needs and stabilize the position of international students in the country.