Biden administration, Democratic lawmakers roll out major immigration bill

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They would receive a permanent residency card, commonly referred to as a "green card", after five years if they pass certain requirements including background checks, and could then apply for citizenship after three years.

Biden has characterized his bill as a way to reimagine immigration in the United States after the Trump administration clamped down on it, and the measure addresses details such as replacing the word "alien" with "noncitizen".

The legislation allows so-called "dreamers" - residents brought to the USA as children illegally - to obtain citizenship, as well as recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is often granted to immigrants from nations hit with natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, the release said.

The bill will make efforts to ease immigration timelines overseas, increasing numerous types of visa caps while seeking to reduce wait times for those who may now wait as long as 20 years to join family in the country. It would eliminate the penalty barring those immigrants who live in the US without authorization and who then leave the country from returning for three to 10 years.

The bill would expand transnational anti-drug task forces in Central America and enhance technology at the border.

Democrats are unveiling Biden-backed legislation Thursday morning to overhaul the immigration system, which includes setting up a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

The plan includes $4 billion spread over four years to try to boost economic development and tackle corruption in Latin American countries, to lessen pressure for migration to the U.S.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, introduced by Democrats Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Linda Sanchez of California, would also give legal status to Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and increasing the number of per-country green card caps.

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Some Republican lawmakers have already criticized the bill for the timing and failing to address more on border security.

While both parties have talked of comprehensive immigration reform in years past, efforts have failed.

"No! This is not the right time and certainly not the right set of policies", House Republican Bill Johnson tweeted on Thursday.

"President Biden's radical proposal is a nonstarter and should be rejected by Congress", he said. But she contended that "there is a broad coalition that wants to deliver on real reform".

During the CNN town hall Tuesday night, Biden said that while a pathway to citizenship would be essential in any immigration bill, 'there´s things I would deal by itself'.

Menendez, too, seemed to suggest he was open to a piece-by-piece approach.

"The reason we have not gotten immigration reform over the finish line is not because of a lack of will", Menendez said.

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