Biden keen on pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

President Joe Biden at the CNN townhall on February 16, 2021.
President Joe Biden at the CNN townhall on February 16, 2021.

Signals willingness to pass other immigration measures in the interim.

President Joe Biden his reiterated that he wants a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants residing in the US, but signaled willingness to pass other immigration measures in the interim.

“Yeah, there’s a whole range of things that relate to immigration, including the whole idea how you deal with.” he said during a CNN town hall Tuesday when asked whether he’d sign a bill that did not include a pathway to citizenship.

Biden’s comments came as his administration, along with congressional Democrats, were expected to unveil an immigration reform bill this week including such a provision for the undocumented including over 400,000 from India.

“You know, what confuses people, is you talk about refugees, you talk about undocumented, you talk about people who are seeking asylum, and you talk about people who are coming from camps or being held around the world,” Biden elaborated.

“And there are four different criteria for being able to come to the United States,” he said.  “The vast majority of the people, those 11 million undocumented, they’re not Hispanics; they are people who came on a visa — who was able to buy a ticket to get in a plane, and didn’t go home.”

READ: Biden promises pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented (November 25, 2020)

But “everyone is entitled to be treated with decency, with dignity,” Biden said. “And we don’t do that enough.

Asked if a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants would be essential in any bill for him, Biden said amid applause, “Well, yes.”

“But, by the way, if you came along and said to me, ‘In the meantime, we can work out a system whereby we’re going to…’ deal with the refugee problem.

“And so I would, if you had a refugee bill by itself — I’m not suggesting that — but I would — 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.

Biden’s efforts to reform the US immigration system like previous such attempts will “be a big lift, as Democrats only narrowly hold the House and Senate and face a Republican Party that’s moved further to right on the issue since the 2013 bipartisan bill,” CNN noted.

Biden’s bill, titled US Citizenship Act of 2021, is expected to be introduced by the end of the week, according to a Democratic source cited by CNN,

It addresses the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the US, boosts border technology, and targets the root causes of migration, according to a White House fact sheet.

Notably, the bill provides an immediate pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, DACA recipients, and Temporary Protected Status holders.

It also sketches out a plan for undocumented immigrants that would allow them to eventually apply for green cards if they pass background checks and pay taxes.

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