Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 has been introduced into Congress. The bill provides a potential pathway to Lawful Permanent Residence and U.S. Citizenship for certain immigrants, including DACA and TPS recipients, in an attempt to reverse former President Trump’s tight immigration policies. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, if passed, would create the largest legalization program in U.S. history!
Who Would Qualify For Immigration Relief Under the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021?
- DACA Dreamers
- Temporary Protected Status holders
- Immigrant farmworkers
- Certain Undocumented Immigrants
- Orphans, widows, children
- Filipino veterans who fought alongside the US in World War II
- Immigrants with approved family-sponsorship positions to join their family in the US on a temporary basis
- Asylum seekers (the bill seeks to eliminate the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims)
- Other vulnerable populations like U visa, T visa, and VAWA visa applicants
- Foreign nationals assisting US troops
How Would The Act Benefit Undocumented (i.e., Illegal) Immigrants?
To date, there are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. The passage of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, if successful, would grant Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI) status to undocumented immigrants, their spouses, and their children, if they were physically present in the United States on or before January 01, 2021.
By obtaining LPI status, undocumented individuals will then become eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence status (i.e., a green card) after five (5) years upon successful passing of criminal and national security background checks, and upon evidence of tax compliance. Additionally, qualifying individuals would receive authorization to work in the U.S. and travel internationally.
After maintaining Lawful Permanent Resident status for five (5) years, these individuals would then become eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship. In other words, under Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, undocumented immigrants will have the chance to gain U.S. Citizenship within eight (8) years
How Would the Act Benefit Dreamers, TPS Holders, and Immigrant Farmworkers?
Recipients of DACA and TPS, in addition to Immigrant Farmworkers, would be eligible to apply for green cards immediately under the proposed legislation (i.e. they would not have to wait the proposed five (5) years as under the undocumented immigrant pathway). Subsequently, after maintaining a Lawful Permanent Resident status for three (3) years, these individuals would then become eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship.
This 3-year pathway to U.S. Citizenship would also apply to noncitizens who entered the United States as children, but who are not DACA or TPS holders, if they meet the following requirements:
- Were younger than 18 years old on the date they initially entered the US;
- Earned a high school diploma or GED;
- Registered for the Selective Service if they are a male over the age of 18; and
- Did any of the following:
- Obtained a degree from an institution of higher education or completed at least two years of a program in the U.S. leading to a bachelor’s degree or higher, or a postsecondary credential;
- Served in the Uniformed Services for at least two years and, if discharged, received an honorable discharge; or
- Demonstrates earned income for periods totaling at least three (3) years.
When Will Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 Pass?
In order to become law, the Act will need to gain approval from both the House and the Senate. Currently, Democrats are in majority control of the House and the Senate, making passage of the Act in Congress more likely than under Trump’s previous administration. However, even though Democrats hold the Senate majority, the chamber is still operating under a 50-50 split, which could create significant push back as to the Act’s passage– as 60 votes are required to gain Senate approval.
In an attempt to get the ball rolling, so to speak, Congress may attempt a piecemeal approach in order to pass certain aspects of the bill. In other words, Congress may consider splitting the bill into smaller, targeted pieces in order to move the bill forward through legislation.
If you are interested in applying for TPS or DACA in anticipation of the Act’s passage, or if you would like to gather additional information about how Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 affects your current immigration status, please contact the Law Office of Olivia C Cummings to schedule a detailed and informative consultation with our experienced Attorney.
We will guide you through the entire process and answer any questions that you may have.
Contact our office today via phone at (772)236-0148, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can also visit our website at www.cummingslawpractice.com.
Attention: This article was written to provide general information, which should not be construed as legal advice. If you are seeking advice on a specific legal matter, you are encouraged to contact our law firm directly and schedule a consultation with our Immigration Attorney for a thorough review of your case.