In this article...

Watch Our Video
Kevin O'Flaherty

President Biden was sworn into office on January 20th, 2021. As part of his campaign promises, President Biden is seeking to reform the current immigration system by sending a bill to Congress outlining the new administration’s immigration plan. The name for the bill is the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. This bill is not currently publicly available because it has not been introduced in either chamber of Congress, so right now we do not know its full contents.

However, President Biden released a summary of his proposal that should allow the public to know an overview of what is in this new administration’s immigration plan. This article will be examining the summary and discussing how it may impact intending immigrants and their families.  

Pathway to status for millions

This is where we hope the President comes through with his plan. The summary of the bill states that it will allow undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status. These individuals will have to hold this status for 3 years, and they will be able to apply for green cards after five years after passing criminal and national security background checks and paying their taxes. This means that most undocumented individuals will be able to become legal permanent residents within 8 years and citizens within 11 to 13 years after their original application. Right now, a process has not been outlined for these individuals. We will keep everyone updated through this blog if anything changes.

The most important aspect is that Dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers who meet specific requirements are eligible for green cards immediately under the proposal. There will not be a waiting period for these individuals. A likely requirement to qualify under this prong is to be a current recipient of one of these statuses. If you believe you qualify for DACA or TPS, please give us a call to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to 630-324-6666.

People entering the country past a specific deadline will not qualify for these opportunities. Under the released summary, applicants must be physically present in the United States on or before January 1, 2021. Please keep receipts, leases, official documents, etc. from prior to 2021 to show continuous presence if need be.  

The proposal also seems to make reform to asylum, visas for victims of crimes, violence against woman act, and survivors of human trafficking. For instance, there is also a proposal to increase the numbers of U visas available from 10,000 per year to 30,000 per year. This will help with the over 100,000 backlog of u visa applicants. It will also remove the 1-year cap to asylum applications.  

Keeps families together

In keeping with the theme of keeping families together, the proposed bill seeks to reform the family-based immigration system by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating wait times, and increasing per-country visa caps. This means that if an applicant is stuck in a low priority visa bucket (i.e., siblings of U.S. Citizens), they may find that their visa date may be called sooner than anticipated.

This bill will also remove the “3 and 10-year bars,” which are the biggest impediments to the adjustment of status for those mixed-status families. Lastly, the bill allows immigrants with approved family petitions to join their family members in the United States on a temporary basis while a visa is available for them. If passed, this will be useful for adult or married children of US Citizens and other intending immigrants whose cases depend on visa availabilities.

Embrace Diversity

The bill will seek to create a law that will block future immigration bans based on religious grounds. This portion of the bill will be known as the NO BAN Act. As part of his initial executive orders, Biden rescinded President Trump’s “Muslim Bans” and the Remain in Mexico Policy. The passing of the NO BAN Act would remove the power to declare bans from Presidential authority under immigration laws.

Additionally, this portion of the bill also seeks to increase Diversity Visas to 80,000 from 55,000. A Diversity Visa is an opportunity for noncitizens without ties to the USA to move and live in the USA. This immigrant visa is only given out via lottery in countries that have low immigration rates to the United States. Note that winning does not automatically give the winner a green card. Winning gives an intending immigrant the opportunity to apply for a green card.  

Protect workers from exploitation and improve the employment verification process

The summary of the proposal lists out that protections for noncitizen workers will be improved. A commission to make recommendations to the employment verification process will be created. This may lead to amendments to the REAL ID Act and other laws that indirectly impose employment authorization requirements. Furthermore, workers who suffer serious labor violations and cooperate with worker protection agencies will be granted greater access to U visa relief. This could be in direct response to several cases where workers were deported after reporting work site incidents. The bill protects workers who are victims of workplace retaliation from deportation to allow labor agencies to interview these workers.  

If you have questions immigration in general or if you are looking for immigration legal assistance, please do not hesitate to give O’Flaherty Law a call at 630-324-6666 to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

FREE ImmigrationE-Book

Get my FREE E-Book

Similar Articles

Learn about Law