White House, Dems Reveal Sweeping Immigration Reform Bill

CBS4's Natalie Brand shares the details of the legislation.

Video Transcript

- And all you at 5:00, the White House and congressional Democrats are revealing their sweeping immigration bill today. It would offer a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

- While many Democrats applaud President Joe Biden's attempt to fix a broken immigration system, they face challenges. The fate of the bill rests in the hands of a narrowly divided Congress. CBS 4's Natalie Brand is live for us on Capitol Hill with more. Natalie?

NATALIE BRAND: And Elliott, Lauren, to highlight the complexity of this issue, this new bill is more than 350 pages long. It follows a campaign promise by President Biden but, as you mentioned, faces an uphill battle in Congress. Congressional Democrats have unveiled the White-House-backed US Citizenship Act, a sweeping immigration overhaul bill that would offer a path to citizenship for roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants.

LINDA SANCHEZ: We are confident that we can get this done. The American people support this. It's long overdue. Millions have been waiting for relief.

NATALIE BRAND: The proposal would automatically make farm workers, temporary protected status holders, and undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, known as DREAMers, eligible for green cards. After three years, they could apply for citizenship. And it would establish an eight-year path to citizenship for all other eligible undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US by January 1. They would need to undergo background and national security checks, as well as file taxes and pay application fees.

ROBERT MENENDEZ: We maximized the ability of finding pathways for people to make themselves right with the law.

NATALIE BRAND: Democrats have the majority in the House. But over in the Senate-- under current rules, at least-- 10 Republicans would have to back the plan and would likely push for border enforcement and a more narrow focus.

LINDSEY GRAHAM: You're going to have to deal with the secure border and make sure the magnets to attract another wave are dealt with.

NATALIE BRAND: Top Democrats in the White House have indicated a willingness to tackling immigration reform through smaller measures.

NANCY PELOSI: There are others who want to do piecemeal, and that may be a good approach, too. That's up to the Congress to decide.

NATALIE BRAND: It's been more than three decades since Congress passed major immigration reform. And this remains an incredibly thorny issue here in Congress. And to highlight the fight ahead, Republicans, including Senator Rick Scott, already pushing back to this new proposal in his role as National Republican Senatorial Committee chair. He released a statement accusing this plan of open borders and amnesty, also saying-- calling it an unserious proposal that, quote, "reflects how far left Senate Democrats have gone on this issue." And Republicans, including Senator Scott, have said that they are announcing plans to introduce their own immigration-related bills. Lauren?

- Natalie Brand live for us in Washington, thank you. Look for much more on the immigration reform plan tonight on the "CBS Evening News" with Norah O'Donnell. That's at 6:30 after CBS 4 News at 6:00.