Immigration Reform Bill Introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives - Immigration News for February 19, 2021
Peri B. Edelman | February 19, 2021
Immigration Reform Bill Introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives
Senator Bob Menendez and Representative Linda Sanchez introduced a bill to the Senate and House yesterday. This reform bill, if passed, would be the 1st immigration reform bill to be passed in twenty-five (25) years.
Certain elements of the bill have previously been floated in Congress. Initially, the Democrats stated that they are looking for a comprehensive reform bill. However, they are open to breaking up the bill. The Biden administration has also stated a willingness to break up the reform bill into different parts.
Here are the highlights of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021:
1. Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Individuals
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would create an eight-year path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the United States. First, it would provide them with a new type of temporary status for five (5) years and then allow them to obtain U.S. citizenship after another three (3) years. The path to citizenship only applies to people who have been in the country since Jan. 1, 2021.
This part of the bill is more than likely to be struck down as there is too much opposition to this component.
2. Pathway to Citizenship for DACA and TPS recipients
Individuals who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or qualify for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from countries suffering from war and natural disasters, who can prove they have a work history and other requirements would be granted residency and then citizenship.
It has been surmised that this part of the bill may get passed.
3. Increasing Visa Caps
The bill would increase visa options on family-based green cards by increasing the country caps and reopening approximately 200,000 unused bills from previous fiscal years. Employment-based visas would also increase from 140,000 to 170,000 per fiscal year.
4. Change to the word “Alien”
The bills changes the word “alien” to the term “noncitizen” when describing undocumented individuals in the Code of Federal Regulations.
5. Lift of 3 and 10 year bars
The bill lifts the 3 and 10 year bars that restrict individuals from re-entering the country if they overstayed their visa.
6. Increase of U non-immigrant visas
The bill triples the number of visas available from 10,000 to 30,000 per fiscal year. These visas are available to individuals who have been victims of serious violent crimes and domestic violence in the United States.
7. Border Backlog
The measure provides funding for more immigration judges and support staff to help with the backlog of asylum seekers. The bill also sets up $4 billion in aid for Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras to address the root cause of migration in those countries.
8. Increased Border Security
The bill provides for increased security at ports of entry focused on detecting drugs and other contraband.
9. Existing Criminal Penalties
Existing criminal penalties for unauthorized immigrants remain in place, including those that bar certain criminals from obtaining green cards. Under existing law, anyone convicted of an aggravated felony or a crime involving illegal narcotics is not admissible in the U.S.
10. Increase of Diversity Visas
The bill also increases the number of diversity visas issued for countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. from 55,000 to 80,000 per fiscal year.
This newsletter is a general information regarding recent changes in immigration law. Every matter is different. If you believe a recent change applies to you, please contact my office. If you know someone who it applies to, please refer them to my office. Thank you.
Disclaimer: This newsletter is a public resource of general information only and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. This website should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The information provided to you at this website is not intended to create and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Peri B. Edelman. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. Visitors to this website should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information available via this website, and should always seek the advice of competent counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. The existence of any particular link is intended solely to provide viewers with information which may be of interest to them. Peri B. Edelman takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of information contained on a linked site. Please be advised that information conveyed over the Internet may not be secure. Any information sent to the law office of Peri B. Edelman via electronic mail or through this website is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis. You're sending Peri B. Edelman or any of the firm’s personnel an email through this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Peri B. Edelman expressly disclaims any and all liability with regard to actions taken or not taken based upon the content of this website.