In order to modernize the U.S. immigration system, President Joe Biden revealed a comprehensive immigration called the “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” on his first day of office and sent the bill to Congress a couple of days later. Additionally, he signed several executive orders that reversed many immigration policies enacted by the former administration.
U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021
The sweeping immigration bill includes a multi-year pathway to legal status and ultimately citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. To be eligible, individuals must have been present in the United States on or before January 1, 2021, unless they obtain a waiver for humanitarian reasons.
First, immigrants would qualify for a work permit and given the ability to travel abroad without fear of denied reentry. After five years, they would be eligible for a green card if they pay taxes, pass background checks, and demonstrate their knowledge of U.S. history and civics. After having permanent residency status for three years and passing more background checks, they could apply for U.S. citizenship.
On the other hand, immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and Temporary Protected Status, as well as undocumented farmworkers would be able to immediately apply for green cards. After three years, they will be eligible for citizenship.
The following are some of the other measures included in the bill:
- Terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and increase the cap for refugees from 15,000 to 125,000.
- Create a federal task force to help separated migrant children reunite with their parents.
- Eliminate per-county immigrant visa caps, clear employment-based immigrant visa backlogs, reduce long permanent residence wait times, and recapture unused visas.
- Clear family-based visa backlogs by recapturing unused visas from previous years and increasing per-county visa caps.
- Increase the annual number of available green cards under the Diversity Lottery Visa Program from 55,000 to 80,000.
- End the three- and ten-year bans for individuals who have been unlawfully living in the U.S.
- Increase the U visa cap from 10,000 to 30,000.
Executive Orders Reversing Trump’s Immigration Policies
One of the first executive orders President Biden signed on January 20, 2021 is reversing Trump’s ban on U.S. entry from 13 countries – most of them are Muslim countries. He also revoked another policy by the former administration that cracked down on communities that shielded undocumented immigrants from deportation, as well as ended Trump’s exclusion of undocumented immigrants from being counted in the U.S. Census.
Alas, Biden reaffirmed DACA, which enables undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and allows them to obtain work permits and protection against deportation. Trump had attempted to dismantle the Obama-era program repeatedly throughout his tenure, but to no avail.
For more information about the sweeping immigration bill, contact Fayad Law, P.C. today at (703) 998-5390. Let our legal team with more than two decades of combined legal experience help you!
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