Biden looks to spend $100B on immigration as House explores legalization pathways

The Biden administration is pledging to set aside some $100 billion to address immigration issues through its $1.75 trillion social spending package as the House released its plan for providing legal status to undocumented migrants. 

The Build Back Better framework released by the White House Thursday comes as lawmakers have hit repeated roadblocks with the Senate Parliamentarian over how to use the reconciliation package to provide a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

“The framework includes a $100 billion investment to reform our broken immigration system, consistent with the Senate’s reconciliation rules, as well as reducing backlogs, expanding legal representation, and making the asylum system and border processing more efficient and humane,” the White House wrote in a release accompanying the framework.

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The House on Thursday also released its draft text of the bill, including a provision to allow undocumented people who arrived in the U.S. by 2010 to apply for legal status.

It’s largely “placeholder” text as it mirrors the Plan B option already presented by the Senate that was struck down by the chamber’s Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough.

She said the measure was too “weighty [a] policy change” to justify passing the bill through the budget reconciliation process, which requires just 50 votes to pass spending measures. 

The House bill also includes a provision to recapture up to 226,000 unused visas.

The close of the fiscal year meant more than 200,000 visas will expire without action from Congress as the government failed to issue some 150,000 family-based visas and as many as 80,000 employment-based visas.