As the situation on the southern border continues to escalate, House Democrats will be reintroducing bills that would give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants who are already in the country.
House Democrats have announced this week that they will be reintroducing The American Dream and Promise Act, and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
According to a Fox News report, The American Dream and Promise Act would grant pathways to citizenship to a Democrat estimate of roughly 2.5 million illegal immigrants who are already in the country.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said of the House taking up the bills for a second time, “The Democratic House will pass these important bills and build on their progress with further action to honor our nation’s immigrant heritage and ensure America’s leadership in the world.”
My name is Izac and I have been a farm worker for 20 years. We need immigration reform now so we can continue to work and to be able to provide for our families. Congress vote YES on the #FarmWorkforceModernizationAct before the end of March. #WeAreHome #WeFeedYou pic.twitter.com/lCOvbVH2lQ
— United Farm Workers (@UFWupdates) March 5, 2021
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What Do These Bills Do?
According to The Hill, The American Dream and Promise Act would primarily be aimed at those who were brought to the U.S. as children and have received protection under DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – the so-called DREAMers.
The bill could also include those who have been given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and those who have been granted Deferred Enforcement Departure. This allows an immigrant to remain in the U.S. beyond their initial authorization due to conditions in their home country.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants who have at least partially worked in agriculture. This legislation provides a process for farm workers to seek a temporary 5 and-a-half year “Certified Agricultural Worker” status if they have worked for roughly 6 months in the agricultural industry in the last two years.
This status can be renewed indefinitely or to work towards a green card. The Fox report goes on to say that, in order to obtain the green card, farm workers who have worked in agriculture for ten or more years must work for four more years.
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Reaction To Biden Immigration Policies
As expected, Republicans have problems with both bills that call for pathways to citizenship.
Rep. John Katko (D-NY), who is the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said of the legislation that it was an “unserious effort that fails to secure U.S. borders or close ‘loopholes’ in the legal immigration system.”
Various lobbying groups have supported the proposals, like the National Milk Producers Federation and the National Potato Council.
We thank @RepZoeLofgren and @RepNewhouse for their leadership in ag labor reform efforts and for reintroducing the #FarmWorkforceModernizationAct. This bipartisan bill takes a significant step toward addressing the workforce crisis plaguing American agriculture.
— National Milk Producers Federation (@nmpf) March 4, 2021
At least one Democrat is cautioning the Biden administration against letting too many illegal immigrants into the country.
Speaking of illegal immigration generally, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) cited the impact of illegal immigration on his constituents, local hospitals, and the possible spread of COVID.
Cuellar told Axios, “You can’t just say ‘yeah yeah let everybody in – because then we’re effected down here at the border.” He went on to say that smugglers use the shift in immigration policy from Trump to Biden to convince migrants to come to the U.S.
“The bad guys know how to market this,” he said.
Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of this pandemic. I urge the Biden administration to listen and work with the communities on the southern border who are dealing with this influx.
Inaction is not an option. https://t.co/bm7IMSzFGS
— Rep. Henry Cuellar (@RepCuellar) March 4, 2021
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Biden Administration Will Not Say Border Is At Crisis Level
Since Joe Biden took office, the situation on the southern border has worsened.
A report from Axios details the deteriorating conditions. Border Patrol facilities are overwhelmed, the federal government is taking in 321 migrant children per day, they expect that number to increase.
According to a report from Politico, twice as many people, roughly 80,000, tried to cross the border in January 2021 than did in January 2020.
Introducing bills that provide pathways to citizenship will only compound what is an increasingly bad situation at the border. It seems that Democrats are ignoring their own trademark advice. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
What did Biden expect by inviting everyone?
“Shelters are overflowing. Border crossings are rising. Border Patrol facilities are overwhelmed. And the new administration is taking fire from both the left and right.”
1 big thing: Biden’s building crisis https://t.co/lWnWIEQ5xc
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) March 5, 2021
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