The bill would expand transnational anti-drug task forces in Central America and enhances technology at the border. And it would try to reduce the burden at the border by setting up refugee processing in Central America, to try to prevent some of the immigrant caravans that have overwhelmed border security in recent years.
The plan includes $4 billion spread over four years to try to boost economic development and tackle corruption in Latin American countries, to try to address some of the root causes of migration to the U.S.
A dozen Democratic lawmakers, including lead sponsors California Rep. Linda Sanchez and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, are set to unveil the full text of the bill.
Comprehensive immigration reform has struggled to gain traction in Congress for decades.
Menendez was part of the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators who negotiated a 2013 immigration reform bill that ultimately collapsed. Prior to that, a bill backed by President George W. Bush failed in Congress as well, after multiple attempts at compromise.
While Biden is pushing a comprehensive bill, he suggested earlier this week he may be open to a more piecemeal approach. During a CNN town hall Tuesday night, Biden said that while a pathway to citizenship would be essential in any immigration bill, “there’s things I would deal by itself.” That could leave the door open to standalone bills focused on providing a pathway to citizenship for various populations.
Still, publicly the White House is emphasizing that its goal is a comprehensive plan.
“The president feels that all of these requirements that are in the bill — these components of the bill — are what makes it comprehensive,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week. “They all need to be addressed. That’s why he proposed them together.”