President Joe Biden’s administration joined Democrats on Capitol Hill in unveiling a major immigration overhaul that would offer an eight-year pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status.
The legislation reflects the broad priorities for immigration reform that Biden laid out on his first day in office. This includes an increase in visas, funding to process asylum applications and new technology at the southern border.
Casey Higgins, a Senior Analyst at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said the Democrats bill is more politics than legislation.
“This piece of legislation that comes down, it will not be what’s enacted into law. And that’s why you go through the legislative process and changes are made to try to find a formula that can pass. But it does mean a lot politically to say, ‘In an ideal world, this is where we would be,'” said Higgins, who worked on previous attempts at immigration legislation as a senior staffer in Paul Ryan’s congressional office.
The plan doesn’t offer any enhanced border security, a priority for Republicans. And without enhanced security, it faces tough odds in a closely divided Congress.