President Biden Immediately Unveils Massive Amnesty Bill
FAIR Take | January 2021
The same day he took the oath of office, President Joe Biden unveiled a bill known as the U.S. Citizenship Act that would amnesty every single illegal alien living in the United States and increase overall immigration. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) quickly introduced it on his behalf in the Senate, ensuring that one of the first major legislative battles of the Biden Administration will be immigration.
Menendez’s bill mirrors what Biden made public and is one of the most extreme immigration bills every proposed. If passed, this legislation would amnesty tens of millions of illegal aliens as well as those deported under President Trump, give citizenship to scores of farmworkers and DACA recipients, and waste billions of dollars attempting to solve the “root causes” of migration from Central and South America.
The Menendez bill calls for different tiers of amnesty eligibility. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, and some long-term illegal alien farmworkers could earn legal permanent residence – green cards – within three years of the bill’s passage. Illegal aliens outside of those categories would still remain eligible for green cards, but would have to simply wait for eight years, rather than three.
Under the plan, almost every illegal alien in the United States would be eligible for employment authorization documents (EAD) – work permits – even if they did not immediately qualify for green cards. EADs are an important aspect of the DACA program, and allow illegal aliens to study and work legally in the United States even if they are unlawfully present.
Even worse, the amnesty would allow nearly all of the over 14 million illegal aliens in this country an opportunity to adjust to some form of legal status ranging from work permits to full citizenship. It would dwarf the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act which legalized around 2.7 million illegal aliens.
The bill also calls for massive increases to legal immigration levels. Senator Menendez’s plan would increase the annual caps for non-nuclear family members of U.S. citizens, thereby exacerbating the growth of chain migration. The bill would increase the number of Visa Lottery recipients from 55,000 to 80,000 per year, award green cards to all foreign students who graduate with an advanced degree in a STEM field from a U.S. university or college, and admit more than 4 million foreign nationals who are currently on the backlog for an employment-based or family-based green card.
Worse still, it would prioritize interior enforcement against only criminal aliens – signaling to the world that the United States is not actually serious about enforcing existing laws against unlawful presence. The bill is not coupled with any enforcement measures, unlike past efforts which included at least some enforcement mechanisms.
Many Republican senators blasted the bill as a non-starter. Both Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) described the bill as unpassable in its current form. Senate Democrats will have to convince 10 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill in order for it to have any chance of becoming law, and that does not appear likely.
FAIR will continue to monitor this and other immigration legislation that arises in the 117th Congress, and aggressively advocate against dangerous amnesty legislation such as this.