HOUSE of Representatives lawmakers today passed an immigration bill that is set to pave the way for 2.5million undocumented migrants to gain US citizenship.
The American Dream and Promise Act, which was passed 228-197 with nine Republican votes, is a key priority for the Joe Biden administration but comes amid a shocking surge in migrants and unaccompanied minors.
The legislation will give younger immigrants nicknamed "Dreamers," who came to the United States illegally as children, protections against deportation and a pathway to citizenship.
The US Customs and Border Protection have recorded over 396,000 migrant crossings since October 1 last year.
About 4,500 children are in the custody of Customs and Border Protection, the majority of which are located at a facility in Donna, Texas.
Under Biden, more unaccompanied children are being allowed into the U.S. than under Trump, whose administration quickly expelled minors seeking entry.
The eruption of migrants comes as two rival cartels became embroiled in a bloodthirsty gun battle near Roma, Texas.
President Biden has faced intense criticism regarding his handling of the border crisis, as Republicans rip into his "nice guy" image that is feared to have invited migrants.
One migrant, by the name of Nelson, told Fox News he made the journey to the US because: "I listened to the news that they were letting people in."
There has been a shocking surge in unaccompanied minors attempting the perilous journey to the US
GOP members have accused the Biden Administration's border policies of "incentivizing" migrants, comparing his significantly softer stance to former President Donald Trump's merciless approach.
But Biden hit back, "First of all, there was a surge in the last two years," the president said. "In '19 and '20, there was a surge, as well," in a bombshell interview with ABC News.
The measure is one of several attempts by Democrats to reverse former President Donald Trump's hard-line immigration policies.
A second bill, also set for a vote, would shield about 1 million immigrant farm workers from deportation and give them the chance to eventually seek legal permanent residence status.
But Republican Representative Chip Roy said Democrats were doing "nothing to address cartels who have ownership of our border right now" and are pushing legislation that would prove to be "a magnet for traffic of more children."
The twin bills got a boost from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobbying group, which cited worries over immigrant workers' "uncertain future."
It also noted that American workers employed at businesses established by Dreamers would gain job security from the legislation and that visa improvements for agriculture workers would help U.S. operations with year-round labor needs, such as dairy farms.
The Dreamers bill also would help a separate group of immigrants, who came from countries that were devastated by civil wars and natural disasters and had qualified for temporary protections in the United States.
As president, Trump rolled back the Temporary Protected Status program. In 2017 he also rescinded former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program aimed at shielding qualifying Dreamers from deportation.
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