Congressional Democrats on Thursday formally unveiled President Joe Biden’s sweeping legislative package that would overhaul the U.S. immigration system and offer a pathway to citizenship for individuals enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 includes language from previous versions of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act proposed by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and would provide an expedited pathway to citizenship for those currently enrolled in the DACA program.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) unveiled the proposal during a virtual press conference, saying the bill in its entirety is the right path forward for immigration reform.
“It’s our vision of what immigration reform should look like,” Menendez said. “I love our Dreamers — they are as American as apple pie.”
The entirety of the measure, which includes a host of immigration policies and programs, faces long odds in the Senate, where a 60-vote threshold is required for passage. While the DACA program has been reinstated via a presidential executive order, DACA recipients’ long-term status is largely in limbo and subject to change with future administrations without congressional action.
NASFAA has expressed support for previous versions of the DREAM Act, and has applauded Biden’s move to reinstate DACA protections that the Trump administration repealed, while urging the new administration to take steps to make the DACA protections permanent.
Publication Date: 2/19/2021