Over 100 organizations launch We Are Home campaign seeking roadmap to citizenship in 2021.
With President Joe Biden’s bold immigration bill facing a steep uphill battle on the Capitol Hill, the White House is reportedly weighing taking a secondary path: doing it piece by piece.
Even though Biden introduced his own bill, Politico cited multiple sources close to the administration as saying they expect the White House will let Congress take the lead on forging reform.
“The main objective is progress. And if that means moving components of reform through Congress one at a time, or in smaller packages, Biden will be fine with that,” it cited two sources close to the White House as saying.
“It’s not an all-or-nothing approach,” one source with knowledge of the White House discussions was cited as saying. “We aren’t saying you have to pass the Biden bill. But we are saying this is what we want to do and we are planning to move legalization forward.”
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Biden’s immigration plan was an aggressive opening salvo embraced by the base, while Republicans, not surprisingly, gave it a cool reception, Politico noted.
Biden’s proposal sent to Congress on his first day in office, includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, expanded refugee resettlement and more technology deployed to the border.
Though he is leaving Congress to hash out the mechanics of passing his immigration plan, Biden seems keen to avoid the missteps during former President Barack Obama’s first term, Politico said.
Democrats then controlled both chambers, but Obama didn’t pursue comprehensive immigration reform. On the other hand, rather than wait until after the 2022 midterms or into a second term, Biden sent his plan to the Hill immediately.
Biden wanted to make his immigration priorities clear, even if the process of getting passed into law will be arduous, Politico said citing sources close to the administration.
READ: Democrats preparing sweeping immigration reform bill for Biden (January 18, 2021)
While the administration is actively monitoring and engaged in the reform effort, it’s stepping back while Congress works out the actual legislative language, it said.
“We’re not going to just enforce our will,” Cedric Richmond, director of White House Office of Public Engagement told Politico. Congress should view Biden’s bill as “a statement of priority,” he said, but they have to “buy into it.”
Though talks are early and fluid, some House members working on Biden’s immigration proposal, according to Politico, said during a recent meeting that they want to take a shot at a comprehensive bill first.
But they said they’re open to breaking off individual pieces if the larger bill stalls, it said citing a source with knowledge of discussions.
READ: How Biden presidency may affect the H-1B and L-1 visa (January 25, 2021)
Meanwhile, The We Are Home campaign, a nationwide immigrant justice campaign that includes labor unions and other advocate groups, launched on Tuesday to urge Congress to enact legislation to address the immigration system, The Hill reported.
The eight-figure campaign that includes digital advertising is co-chaired by Community Change, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Farm Workers (UFW), and United We Dream.
We Are Home campaign director Nathaly Arriola wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to kick off the campaign and ask for legislation that creates a roadmap to citizenship in 2021, including provisions like establishing citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status holders, and farm workers.
Arriola also asked for a pathway to citizenship for essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic and a provision that reunites families and welcomes asylum seekers. .
Over 100 organizations are part of We Are Home, including the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, National Immigration Law Center, UndocuBlack Network, and UnidosUS.