The Biden administration is expected to launch a government-wide effort to make up to 9 million immigrants living in the U.S. citizens, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Friday.
President Joe Biden asked federal agencies to work on “welcoming strategies that promote integration, inclusion, and citizenship,” through an executive order, according to CNN. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the agency’s plan to “breaking down barriers to U.S. citizenship” and promote naturalization for immigrants who are eligible.
“The idea is to find a whole-of-government way to reach out to people who are able to naturalize,” a USCIS official reportedly told CNN. The official said there are around 9 million immigrants living in the U.S. as lawful permanent residents who could be eligible for citizenship.
The House will vote on two immigration bills this week as the numbers of migrant families and children detained at the southern border surges.
The first bill, dubbed the Dream and Promise Act (DPA) would provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants who have lived in the U.S. illegally since being brought as young children.
The second, the Farm Modernization Workforce Act (FMWA), would create a certified agricultural worker status and streamline the H-2A visa application process. President Joe Biden has also announced a sweeping immigration reform plan in addition to the two bills, though Republicans have labeled it a non-starter.
A prominent immigration scholar, David Jacobson, writes that “[t]ransnational migration is steadily eroding the traditional basis of nation-state membership, namely citizenship. As rights have come to be predicated on residency, not citizen status, the distinction between ‘citizen’ and ‘alien’ has eroded. The devaluation of citizenship has contributed to the increasing importance of international human rights codes, with its premise of universal ‘personhood’.”