President Biden promised to fight for immigration reform, and he is not wasting any time. On February 18, 2021, Democratic lawmakers formally introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 in the House and Senate. The act provides a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and aims to “restore common sense, compassion and competence in our government” by fixing the immigration system.
How Does the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 Work?
According to The New York Times, the legislation “would allow virtually all undocumented immigrants to eventually apply for citizenship; increase legal immigration; add measures to secure ports of entry and speed processing of asylum seekers; and invest $4 billion in the economies of Central American countries to reduce migration.” The centerpiece of the legislation is an 8-year path to citizenship, which Biden first proposed on his first day in office. Under the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, undocumented immigrants would be able to live and work in the United States after passing background checks and paying taxes. Then, they could apply for a green card 5 years later and apply for citizenship 3 years after that. Additionally, family-based immigration would be less restrictive, and more worker visas would become available.
Will the Legislation Make It Through Congress?
Although Democrats will face challenges moving the U.S. Citizenship Act through Congress, President Biden and his Capitol Hill allies are attacking the issue of immigration head-on. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are still trying to pass another coronavirus relief package, drawing even more attention to Congress. Even though the Senate is currently split 50-50, Democrats will still need the support of 10 Republican senators to pass Biden’s legislation.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Citizenship Act is already facing its fair share of Republican backlash. The legislation does not focus as wholly on border enforcement as previous propositions, and critics claim the bill encourages illegal immigration, fails to secure the border, and “rewards those who broke the law.” Even pro-immigration advocates worry the bill will never make it through the Senate. Still, Biden and his allies express a willingness to negotiate and are proud to reintroduce the issue of legislation.
Fighting for What Is Right
The bill that ultimately gets signed may look different from the one introduced in Congress, but Democrats are proud to fight for what they believe in.
Senator Bob Menendez (D – NJ) explains:
“We will never win an argument that we don’t have the courage to make.”
For the Biden administration, a more humane immigration system is the argument, and lawmakers seem more ready than ever to fight for what is right.
What Biden’s Immigration Overhaul Means for You
So far, no legislation has made it through Congress, but Biden’s executive orders and commitment to immigration reform have indicated an enormous tone shift from the previous administration. With a new homeland security secretary and changing priorities for deportation, now is a good time to apply for a visa, a green card, or citizenship.
The majority of changes that come about in the next 4 years are likely to benefit your case, so don’t hesitate to get started.
Weldon Law Group, PLLC has more than 20 years of experience helping clients accomplish their immigration goals. We make the process as stress-free as possible and offer free 30-minute case evaluations to help you get started.
Call us at (904) 204-3420 or contact us online to start building your personalized legal strategy today.