With a change of administration comes a ripple effect of policy changes. When the Biden Administration took office on January 20th, 2021, some notable first actions included the proposal of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. This bill, which has been sent to Congress for approval, proposes a number of changes are aimed at reversing the Trump administration’s strict immigration policies. Here are some of the most important parts for you to understand of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.
A Pathway to Citizenship and Family Unification
The bill allows undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status, with the ability to apply for green cards after 5 years if they pass criminal and national security background checks and pay their taxes. By creating a roadmap to citizenship, the bill takes some of the confusion and uncertainty out of the process of immigration. The bill also proposes for the elimination of three- and ten-year bars that keep families separated, which would allow immigrants with approved family petitions to join families in the U.S. while they wait for their green cards to process.
In further efforts to reunite families, the bill would allow Dreamers, holders of Temporary Protective Status (TPS), and migrant farmworkers that meet certain requirements to be immediately eligible for green cards. The bill also provides protections for orphans, widows, children, and Filipino veterans that fought alongside the US in WWII.
Strengthening Labor Protections and Growing the Economy
By clearing employment-based visa backlogs, recapturing unused visas, reducing wait times, and eliminating per-country visa caps, the bill would make it easier for graduates of U.S. universities with STEM degrees to remain in the United States. The bill also eliminates a host of hurdles for employment-based green cards, allowing for economic growth in the U.S. as a whole.
The Citizenship Act also aims to protect workers who are victims of workplace retaliation from deportation. The bill also protects migrant and seasonal workers and increases penalties for employers who violate labor laws.
Prioritizing Technology for Border Control
The bill places an emphasis on smart border controls, authorizing additional funding for the DHS to implement technology plans that expedite screening and enhance ability to identify narcotics and other contraband at points of entry. The bill also provides funding for training and continuing education for agent and officer safety and professionalism at the border, with the intention of protecting border communities and individuals in CBP custody. Further, the bill provides funding for the development guidelines for standards of care for individuals, families, and children in CBP custody.
Addressing Causes of Migration
By addressing the root cause of migration, the U.S. Citizenship Act aims to lay the framework for safe, lawful, and orderly migration. The bill provides funding to increase assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, contingent on the countries taking steps to reduce corruption, violence, and poverty that cause people to flee. The bill also supports asylum seekers and vulnerable populations by eliminating one year deadline for filing asylum claims. The bill also proposed increased protections for those with U visas, T visas, and VAWA applicants, which includes raising the cap on U visas from 10,000 to 30,000.
How Solano Can Help YOU
With integral changes in legislation can come confusion for many and a multitude of questions. Having an attorney that is experienced in the ups and downs of immigration law can be instrumental in navigating the current immigration environment. Solano Law Firm has experienced and dedicated attorneys ready to help you through the immigration process. Call us today for a free case consultation to get the help you deserve.