Mar 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats to take up immigration reform next week

President Biden signs executive orders in the Oval Office
Biden in the Oval Office in January. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House will vote on two immigration bills next week, including one to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday on a call with the Democratic caucus.

Why it matters: This is likely the only realistic shot the Biden administration has at this point to pass immigration reform.

  • The two bills, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the American Dream and Promise Act, both passed the House with bipartisan support last Congress.
  • The first one would provide permanent residency for undocumented farmworkers, while the other would allow undocumented immigrants who came to the states as children to stay in the country and apply for citizenship.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a Senate version of the Dream Act last month, indicating the bill has at least some bipartisan support in the Senate.

  • Americans overwhelmingly support letting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children stay in the country and apply for citizenship.

Between the lines: Democrats are still whipping Biden's U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which would reverse many executive orders handed down by the Trump administration, possibly providing citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

  • But congressional sources tell Axios the House does not have the votes on the comprehensive bill.

What's next: After campaigning against former President Donald Trump by accusing him of putting "kids in cages," Biden is now seeing a brewing child migrant problem.

  • More than 700 children who crossed from Mexico into the United States without their parents were held in Border Patrol custody as of last week.
  • A crisis at the border could make it even harder for Congress to pass substantial immigration reforms.
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