Sweeping Reforms offered in the Biden U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021
President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., in the House of Representatives and by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., in the Senate offers the most comprehensive immigration package since the Simpson-Mazzoli immigration bill in 1983. Many of the provisions of Simpson Mazzoli would be incorporated into the 1986 reforms. Biden’s present proposal could be the most sweeping since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. As the companion article, “Immigration: Nothing Changes but the Faces” describes, immigration reform has been a long and arduous process of chipping away at a Eurocentric-Anglocentric immigration policy. Sadly, during the last four years, racial attitudes rejecting reforms have been reinforced. Given the numerical political split in the U.S. Senate, it is unlikely that any, but the most benign, provisions will pass muster with Republicans. And for these reasons, those cynical among us anticipate an eventual compromise that will fall far short of sweeping reforms which the bill proposes. But that cynicism is hardly a reason to give up the fight.
The bill proposes an eight-year pathway to citizenship for the country’s millions of undocumented immigrants, a shorter process to legal status for agriculture workers and recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The approach to boarder enforcement would shift from physical barriers and boots on the ground to the employment of technology. Click here to see the Text of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.