Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on Thursday will introduce a sweeping immigration bill drawn up by President Joe Biden.
The bill, titled “the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021,” aims to speed up the process of applying for U.S. citizenship to eight years for undocumented immigrants. Applicants will have five years of temporary legal status, then they’ll be allowed to apply for green cards. After another three years, they will be able to apply to become citizens.
The proposal also boosts the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, aka the green card lottery, from 55,000 visas to 80,000.
Additionally, the bill would strike the phrase “illegal alien” from immigration laws and replace it with “noncitizen,” a tangible repudiation of the offensive term that advocates have asserted is weaponized to further marginalize undocumented individuals.
However, getting the legislation passed, particularly in the Senate, is a tall order: Democratic senators, despite having a majority in the chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris’ deciding vote, would need 10 Republican votes to do so thanks to the filibuster.
According to CNN and the Washington Post, administration officials told reporters on Wednesday that it’s “just too early to speculate” whether Democrats could approve the bill through budget reconciliation, a voting procedure that only requires a simple majority.