U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday said he remained adamant about the need to create a pathway for U.S. citizenship for so-called Dreamer immigrants, but it “remains to be seen” if that will be part of a $3.5 trillion budget measure.
“There must be a pathway to citizenship,” Biden told reporters as he returned to the White House after spending the weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Dreamers are immigrants brought to the United States as children who are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Democrats hope to provide legal status to some immigrants in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation measure they plan to pass with a simple majority, but details have not been released.
Asked if the reconciliation measure needed to include the pathway to citizenship, Biden said that “remains to be seen.”
Senate Democratic leaders have said the budget measure would open the door to legislation on climate measures, social spending, and extension of a child tax credit.
However, it remains unclear if the Senate parliamentarian, who decides which provisions may be included in a budget package, will approve inclusion of an immigration measure.
The DACA program, created by former President Barack Obama while Biden was vice president, faces new legal challenges.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen this month sided with a group of states suing to end the program, arguing that it was illegally created by Obama in 2012.
Biden last week vowed to preserve the DACA program and urged Congress to provide a path to citizenship.
DACA protects recipients from deportation, grants them work authorization and access to driver’s licenses, and in some cases better access to financial aid for education. It does not provide a path to citizenship.