The Biden Administration has recently submitted a summary of its immigration reform plan, entitled The US Citizenship Act to Congress, for consideration. This plan, championed by NJ Democratic Senator, Robert Menedez, is the most significant immigration plan to have come before Congress in decades, and includes the following provisions:
– An eight-year path to citizenship for millions of people who were living in the United States unlawfully on Jan. 1, 2021, starting with applying for a “Green Card”, Lawful Permanent Resident, (LPR) status after five years in ”Temporary Legal Status”. Then, those who were granted LPR status, who have filed tax returns and have paid any taxes due each the five years in LPR status, and will be able to pass governmental background and security checks, will be eligible to apply to naturalize to United States Citizens, as long as they satisfy the existing Naturalization requirements, including the ability to read, write and understand basic English, a basic understanding of US history and Civics, and establish that they are people of good moral character during the five-years preceding the filing of the Naturalization Application.
– Allows people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection, (a group known as “Dreamers” who were brought to the United States illegally as children), certain farm-workers, and people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immediately apply for a green card if they meet specific requirements. They would have a three-year path to citizenship.
– Permits certain immigrants who were deported during the Trump administration after having lived three years in the United States, to return to reunite with family or for other humanitarian reasons.
– Raises annual per-country limits on family-based immigration and eliminates them for employment visas.
– Exempts spouses and children of green card holders from employment-based immigration quotas, expanding the number of green cards available to employment-based immigrants.
– Eliminates the Three and Ten Year “Unlawful Presence Bars” to re-enter, (entry for certain people who lived in the United States illegally and voluntarily departed).
– Clears family-based and employment-based immigrant visa backlogs.
– Provides work permits to dependents of H-1B visa holders.
-Authorizes regional processing centers in Central America to register and process people for refugee resettlement and other legal migration programs.
– Authorizes funding for legal counsel for vulnerable populations of migrants, such as children.
– Increases the number of Immigration Judges working in the Immigration Court System.
– Eliminates the one-year-of-arrival filing deadline for asylum applications.
– Changes the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in U.S. immigration laws.
Although the likelihood of some form of Immigration Reform being enacted during Biden’s term as President are significant, the sheer magnitude of this far-reaching Immigration reform bill ensures that it will face strong opposition in Congress. Democratic control of the House is now by a smaller margin than in the previous Congress, and control of the Senate is split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. To pass it, Democrats would need to win over 10 Republicans to avoid a “filibuster,” a procedural hurdle that can delay or block legislation from coming to a vote, or completely eliminate it as Democrats have talked about in recent months.
If you are seeking any immigration help, or simply wish to discuss your immigration situation in confidence with an experienced immigration attorney, please call us at our national toll-free free number 877.583.7080, and we will schedule a confidential consultation via WhatsApp, Skype, Telephone, or Zoom. In addition to being in English such consultations can be in Albanian, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish. (Although we do hold in-person consultations, when necessary, in our Clifton New Jersey, and Aventura Florida offices, due to COVID-19 concerns, we discourage such in-person consultations for your safety, as well as for the safety of our attorneys and staff.)
*Joseph G. Cella, Esq. is the managing founder of Cella & Associates, LLC. During his nearly 30 years of practicing Immigration Law, Mr. Cella has been published in the New Jersey Law Journal, and has authored many articles on Immigration Law. Mr. Cella has also lectured on numerous topics of immigration law for a number of organizations including the Federal Bar Association.
**Cella & Associates will not prosecute cases which we know, or have reason to believe, are fraudulent or frivolous.**