Joe Biden’s comprehensive US immigration bill has been delayed amid fears that it may not pass, according to several sources. House Democrats have postponed plans to vote on the US President’s bill after a whip count revealed that it could be rejected.
Biden’s bill proposes a raft of sweeping changes, including a pathway to US citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Republicans have argued that such a measure would spark a surge of new migrants heading for the US border.
Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, told Politico: “We need to engage in some consultation with key members and stakeholders, but I see no reason why we wouldn’t mark it (the bill) up when we reconvene in April.”
Bill causing unease
Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) admitted that he was one of several legislators that are ‘uneasy’ with Biden’s bill. He said: “We need to have a discussion. It was put together by a few people. I don’t know what the role of the administration has been.”
Instead of voting on the Biden US immigration bill, many Democrats will turn their attention to a series of smaller bills, which they consider to be ‘less ambitious’.
Stent Hoyer (D-Md.), the House Majority Leader, hinted that there would be votes on two smaller bills taking place in mid-March. One of the bills will offer legal status to farmworkers who currently lack permission to work in the US, while the other will provide a pathway to US citizenship for people brought to the country illegally as children.
Biden’s comprehensive bill proposes what has been described as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ but gradual amnesty, which would give most illegal immigrants the opportunity to gain legal status and eventually, US citizenship.
Temporary legal status
The President’s plan is calling for illegal immigrants to be allowed a five-year period of ‘temporary legal status’ followed by three years with a green card, after which time they could apply for citizenship.
However, the immigration issue has historically divided Democrats. What some are calling a ‘crisis’ and what the Biden administration is calling a ‘challenge’ at the US-Mexico border is making the President’s immigration bill a ‘tougher’ sell. Republicans have said that Biden’s bill and his policies are encouraging an immigrant surge.
It’s rumoured that Biden’s ambitious US immigration bill will have difficulty passing in the evenly divided Senate, where a supermajority vote of 60 is needed for most legislation to pass.
At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, former US President, Donald Trump, said: “The Biden people are pushing a bill that would grant mass amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, while massively expanding chain migration.”
“That’s where you come in and everybody comes in - your grandmother, your father, your mother, your brother, your cousins. Biden’s plan is crazy, so crazy.”
“Republicans must ensure that it is never allowed to become federal law,” the former US President added.
Amid mounting pressure on facilities at the US-Mexico border, where the number of unaccompanied migrant children being detained has increased by 583% under Joe Biden, many Americans have voiced their disapproval of the President’s US immigration policies.
A new poll found that nearly half of Americans are not happy with Biden cancelling construction on Trump’s controversial border wall.
A Harvard University and Harris Insights and Analytics poll conducted in February found 47% of Americans disapproved of ending construction on the wall. Meanwhile, presidential executive orders reducing the deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of non-violent crimes also received 55% disapproval.
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