This week, we read about a new vaccine requirement for immigrants, essential workers being eligible for citizenship, and how Democrats are fighting to pass new immigration reform. 

 

U.S. will require most new immigrants to get coronavirus vaccine 

This Tuesday, USCIS announced that all new immigrants will need to be fully vaccinated for COVID. The rule will go into effect on October 1st. 

Those applying for green cards in the U.S. are required to complete a medical examination, which already requires vaccinations for several other life-threatening diseases. 

The new mandate stems from updated CDC guidelines. There are also limited exceptions to the vaccine requirement, including age reasons, religious reasons, and medical conditions. 

The requirement comes shortly after the Biden administration set new vaccine mandates.  Federal employees and companies with more than 100 people are also now required to get the vaccine.   

 

Essential workers among 8 million who could get amnesty in reconciliation bill 

The House Judiciary Committee recently considered a bill that could grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants.  

Millions of immigrants that worked as essential workers during the pandemic would also be included in the bill.  

The protections are under the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” bill. It is unclear whether the provisions for citizenship will stay due to filibuster rules.  

Democrats have fought to give immigrant essential workers a pathway to citizenship for a long time. The Center for American Progress estimated that 5 million undocumented immigrants worked as essential workers during the pandemic. The bill would also cover DREAMers, immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Including DREAMers would bring the number of eligible immigrants for citizenship to roughly 8 million.  

 “I want us to see us finally, finally provide Dreamers, TPS recipients, farmworkers, essential workers, a pathway to citizenship,” said President Biden. 

Though President Biden supports the bill, Republicans are not in favor of the immigration reform provisions. There’s also a chance the immigration provisions could be taken out of the bill entirely.    

 

Senate parliamentarian pushes Democrats for more details on immigration plan 

 The Senate referee is asking Democrats for more details on their immigration plan before she approves it. Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) said that they will be presenting new information about the bill this week. 

 The Senate Democrats are hoping to give green cards to 8 million immigrants with the new bill. DREAMers, temporary protected status holders, and agricultural and essential workers are all included in the bill. 

 Democrats are trying to use the process of reconciliation to get the bill to pass. Getting the bill to pass will be largely determined by parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s vote.  

 “We feel very strong about that position, and we hope it is persuasive, but ultimately it is her decision,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, (Ill.). 

If MacDonough decides that the bill does not comply with the rules, the immigration plan may be taken out of the bill completely. In that case, Democrats must vote unanimously to keep it in. 

While Democrats are leading this charge, Republicans are arguing the immigration plan should not be in the bill. Senate Democrats are hoping to make a quick deadline to finish the bill, but are struggling to get the final draft completed.    

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