STATEMENT: CAP Celebrates President Biden’s Day One Immigration Bill and the Vision It Represents of an America Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden revealed the details of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a legislative proposal to transform the American immigration system, which includes at its heart an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and an expedited path for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, and agricultural workers. The bill would additionally use various tools to establish safe, orderly migration and humanitarian protection channels from Central America and increase accountability and transparency in immigration enforcement.

After the announcement, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The Trump administration made full use of its administrative authorities to weaponize the dysfunction long embedded in the country’s immigration system. While the Biden administration has already begun to lay out plans to similarly use administrative action to repair the damage done and build a more fair, humane, and workable system, it is heartening to see that it is simultaneously working to tackle problems with the underlying system itself. By presenting this proposal to Congress for introduction, President Biden has not only fulfilled a campaign promise but is also showing that building a better American immigration system will be a top priority of his administration.

Central to the president’s proposal is a path to citizenship for an estimated 10.4 million undocumented immigrants in the country today—individuals and families that have experienced four years of cruelty and violations of the rule of law. Among these individuals are an estimated 5 million who have been on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as essential workers, risking their own lives to keep the country running, as well as 1.3 million of their spouses and minor children. Notably, a number of the provisions in the bill that could play an important role in the administration’s constructive engagement with Central American countries—including the restoration of the Central American Minors program and the creation of family reunification parole programs—can be achieved even in the absence of legislative reform. We applaud the work that went into producing this bill and look forward to seeing it enacted into law.

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