February 19th, 2021
Democrats Unveil Immigration Reform Bill Converting ‘Aliens’ into ‘Non-citizens’
Democrats in Congress unveiled on Thursday their proposed legislation for President Joe Biden’s plan for immigration reform that would pave the way for about 11 million undocumented immigrants, most of them from Mexico and Central America, to become American citizens.Despite reports from the CBP that "CBP believes this increase is caused by several factors, including underlying crime and instability in migrants’ home countries, which have been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and inaccurate perceptions of shifts in immigration and border security policies." The Washington Post wrote " A Central American official who closely monitors migration dynamics said smuggling guides “They’re saying Biden has given the green light,”
“Immigration is an irrefutable source of our strength and is essential to who we are as a nation,” Biden said in a statement, calling the reform a “long overdue” reversal of his predecessor’s “misguided policies".According to Newsweek, ""First things first, we need to see legislative text," said one senior Senate aide, who was not authorized to speak publicly, for a Republican.
"It will be a heavy lift, even more in such a divided Senate," said a Senate aide for another Republican senator, who also requested to speak anonymously. "It's not going to be easy for the Democrats to push this through."Even moderate Republican Susan Collins (R-ME) said that "the proposal falls short in several areas". As a result White House sources have said that they are open to a more piecemeal approach, breaking up the larger bill into more palatable segments which can then be individually debated in the Senate. A more desirable outcome than ramming hyper-partisan legislation through on a razor-thin margin or abusing reconciliation for everything.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that she's open to the piecemeal approach as well, as many aspects of the bill do in fact have bipartisan support. The Biden administration's strategy thus far, including the COVID relief bill, seems to be go big from the outset and don't be timid in the face of crises. It remains to be seen if this will prove effective in a hyper-partisan atmosphere.An expedited green card process and a clear path to citizenship for select groups of undocumented immigrants are commonsense fixes to a perpetually broken immigration apparatus that are indeed "long overdue," to say nothing of shifting resources away from wrong-headed, largely symbolic efforts at wall-building and increased border patrols.The argument that construction of border fortifications is "symbolic" is specious, the only symbolic wall is unenforced one. How many border crossings are there between North and South Korea each year? (According to the BBC approximately 1,000, one-way only). It isn't a question of whether or not border walls work, that's confirmable. They do. Border walls exist to channel enforcement more effectively. One simply doesn't work without the other.
The proposed bill stipulates referring to undocumented migrants as “non-citizens”, rather than aliens, offers an 8-year pathway to citizenship, and immediate permanent residence for “dreamers”, migrants brought to the US as children.Rebranding the term "illegal immigrants" or "aliens" is an insultingly obvious tactic to detract from the inherent criminality of entering a nation illegally. Every person who willfully enters the United States without passing through a border checkpoint and submitting to the legal process has committed a criminal act and once convicted, is in fact: a criminal. Writing "non-citizens" in sparkly pink marker with rainbows, stars and unicorns doesn't helpLanguage matters, particularly in areas as loaded as immigration. While this may seem like a cosmetic change or cynical distraction, it in fact signifies a sharp rebuke to the xenophobic, scare-mongering rhetoric of the Trump administration.