A Much Needed Uphill Battle? Biden’s Immigration Reform Heads To Capitol Hill
The state of American immigration has been volatile, with nearly 4,000 unaccompanied migrant children being taken into Border Patrol custody over the weekend. Prior to this, immigration legislation has already been a hot topic, with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene trying her hand at forwarding a bill to crack down on undocumented individuals, sanctuary cities, and all immigration. President Joe Biden has his own immigration reform bill, and it is due to head to Capitol Hill for the House of Representatives vote.
What Is Biden’s Bill About?
President Joe Biden’s immigration bill is referred to as the US Citizen Act of 2021. At its heart, it aims to create an eight-year path to American citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the country. It also aims to address the immigration backlog created by former President Trump’s halt of immigration processing for the H-1B visa applicants and other temporary work visas. Historically, the American immigration laws have remained resistant to reform since 1986. As such, it is clear that Biden’s immigration bill will be in for quite a battle.
Does This Affect The H-2A Visa?
One of the other goals of Biden’s immigration bill is to address the worker shortage that has hit the agricultural sector of the US. The lack of critical agricultural workers was addressed through the H-2A visa , which allowed for foreign national workers to temporarily work in American’s agricultural sector. Last year, Florida hired the most H-2A visa workers, followed by the state of Georgia. President Biden’s bill, if it passes, will help the undocumented agricultural workers and lessen the application time for current H-2A visa applications, giving the US the workers that it needs.
Critics of Biden’s immigration reform say that it is not doing enough to address certain issues that plague certain visa programs. The H-2A visa does not have any provision for the dairy sector, which requires year-round labor. With most of Biden’s immigration bill laying a path toward citizenship for the undocumented, there are grumbles of unfairness for foreign workers who paid out of pocket to go through the proper visa process. Beyond this, there are also concerns over whether the bill will get enough bipartisan support. Democrats hold a thin majority over both Congress and Senate houses, and they will need 10 GOP votes to pass the legislation. Republican lawmakers have voiced their criticism and non-support of the broadening path toward citizenship for the undocumented. Instead, they call for stronger border security measures in the light of the thousands of illegal immigrants seeking entry into the country.
It is clear that President Biden’s immigration bill aims to improve conditions for both undocumented immigrants and those willing to pass through legal channels to seek lawful and gainful employment. However, its fate is still up to a vote. The next few weeks will be a crucial period in the bill’s future. Should it not pass through Congress, it will be interesting to see what President Biden will do next regarding the bubbling immigration crisis in the US.