President Joe Biden sent a sweeping immigration bill – known as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 – to Congress on his first day of office. The legislation includes a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Under Biden’s plan, immigrants living in the United States without legal status as of January 1, 2021, would be given temporary legal status for five years until they are eligible for a green card, if they meet certain requirements such as paying taxes, passing background checks, and demonstrating knowledge of English and U.S. civics. After they are granted permanent legal status, they could start the three-year naturalization process for U.S. citizenship.
However, some undocumented immigrants will be subject to a quicker citizenship process. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients (called “Dreamers), individuals who are part of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, and agricultural farmers could qualify for green cards right away and then citizenship after three years of permanent legal status.
Additionally, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may make an exception to the January 1 presence requirement and grant a waiver for family unity and other humanitarian purposes to individuals who have been deported on or after January 20, 2017 and were physically present in the U.S. for a minimum three years prior to removal.
The proposal also includes increases in per-country visa caps, an expansion of refugee admissions, and strengthening existing border resources with infrastructure and technology.
Although Democrats hold a slim majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate during the start of Biden’s presidency, at least some of the Senate Republicans must support the bill to pass into law.
If you are interested in obtaining a green card or becoming a U.S. citizen in Jacksonville, contact Weldon Law Group, PLLC today at (904) 204-3420. Let our legal team with over two decades of experience help you accomplish your immigration goals.