Rep. Linda T. Sánchez talks sweeping immigration reform bill

The California congresswoman leads the U.S. House of Representatives’ legislative efforts on immigration reform by introducing the Biden-Harris bill.
5:55 | 02/26/21

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Transcript for Rep. Linda T. Sánchez talks sweeping immigration reform bill
upon take office president Biden promised sweeping reform the U.S. Citizen ship act of 2021 aiming to deliver on the president's promise. Congresswoman, thank you for being here. Look, every time people hear immigration reform. And you hear all that, and you say this time you have a better chance because you're injecting humanity, but is it more so that, or this is a numbers game, as Democrats have the house of number, slim numbers in the house and senate and you have the white house and which of those gives you the better chance do you think? It is actually a combination of things. I will say that this bill finally fixes our broken immigration system that is broken from top to bottom, and the American people understand that the status quo is untenable, that we need to fix this, and we have the right set of circumstances, I think after failed chaotic and cruel policies of the last four years, the American public are hungry for this. And because we do have a democratic majority in the house, and in the senate, and a president and an administration that's willing to put some political muscle behind getting this across the finish line, I think everything is aligning, so we have a really great chance to get broad relief passed. What is, name one or two things in here, certainly the pathway to citizenship, I assume that's at the top of the list, but is that one of those things that if most people don't, most people should, you say, should love about this bill? Sure, so it provides a pathway for folks to adjust their status into a legal status, for people who have been living and working here, for years, if not decades, I mean many of the folks who would get relief from this bill are lks that we call essential workers. They are the ones that kept our economy running, during the worst pandemic we've had in this country in 100 years, there are folks that when we went to the grocery store there was food on the shelves, there are folks who worked in the transportation and energy sectors, they were frontline nurses and doctors, caring for people with covid. You can't on the one hand call them essential, and then say somehow that they damaged this country. Secondly, this bill takes a novel approach to our southern border, by investing in all of our ports of entry, in infrastructure and technology that will make us more secure. And finally, this bill seeks to address the root causes that force people to flee and take that dangerous journey north. If we can reduce violence, corruption, poverty, hunger, in Central America in particular, we will stem the need for folks to flee and come north in search of safety and security. So this bill works in conjunction with the international community, and with the private sector, to make those investments, so that we can get at those root problems, because if you don't, you will continue to see that migration flow. I want to give you a chance to respond to some of the criticism on that point, about, to kind of stem that fof folks coming north across the border, there are critics who say, well, actually, you're putting this immigration bill in place and giving a pathway to citizenship and that will encourage more people to actually try to get into the country, and another criticism, this is going to hurt American workers, and another criticism, as you talk about the technology, at the border, some just consider that a more high-tech wall, if you will, so I want to give you a chance here to address some of those concerns, and criticisms that people do have of the bill. Sure, so this bill only applies to folks who have been living and working in this country, it doesn't apply to new people that arrive, and number two, as I said, many of these folks have been living and working in our communities for decades, they are essential workers, so they're not stealing American jobs, they're already here, they're already working and contributing to this country. With respect to technology, at the border, we spend billions of dollars on our southern border, and we, we had a president, the last occupant of the white house, who was fixated on the idea of a wall and barriers and really that's like a medieval solution to a modern-day problem. By investing in infrastructure at our ports, we can crack down on bad actors, by the use of technology, we can do it more efficiently, without having to spend those billions of dollars, and with respect to getting at the root causes, you know, we will allow for in country processing, so folks don't have to make that dangerous journey north. They can apply for asylum if they're being persecuted from within their home country. And get a decision before they make that journey north to come to the United States. And no small thing here, I am sitting here talking to the daughter of Mexican immigrants who is now leading the charge on capitol hill, for an immigration reform bill, that's, it might give some people chills. What does it do for you? It's really humbling. My parents are both immigrants from Mexico, and they sacrificed and worked hard to give me and my brothers and sisters opportunities that they never had. They put everything on the line, and we've given back to this country, they are the only parents in the history of the United States, that can say that they sent not one, but two daughters to serve in the united States congress. We love this country. We want it make it better. We want to make our immigration system more humane. And we want to help boost our economy and keep our nation safe, and we can do that, if we pass this bill. Congresswoman Sanchez, I know we're going to see you down the road, I know the work is just starting, on this bill, but we appreciate your time, thank you so much, and I know you have a busy day on capitol hill as well, have a good work day and have a good weekend. We'll talk to you soon, okay? Thank you so much for your interest. What a pleasure.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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