What You Need to Know About the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021
The legal rules governing immigration to the United States have changed, stalled, and changed again in the last couple of years, leaving immigrants feeling whiplashed by what to do when seeking citizenship.
President Joe Biden has introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act in early January to help “manage and secure our border, keep our families and communities safe, and better manage migration.”
The bill was formally introduced into the House of Representatives by Representative Linda Sanchez (D-California) and in the Senate by Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) in early February. The bill promises a new border management,
What Does The U.S. Citizenship Act Of 2021 Do?
The U.S. Citizenship Act promises to modernize the immigration system and allow immigrants who have lived and worked in the country a chance at citizenship. The White House refers to the system as an “earned” pathway to citizenship that will take about eight years.
The White House’s road map allows immigrants to apply for “temporary legal status, with the ability to apply for green cards after five years if they pass criminal and national security background checks and pay their taxes.”
Dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers are eligible for green cards immediately under the system.
People who were deported on or after January 20, 2017, who had lived in the U.S. for at least three years prior to their deportation, and whose access to status serves the purpose of family unity or other humanitarian purposes as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also have the chance to benefit from the bill.
How Does The U.S. Citizenship Act Affect Families?
This new Act provides excellent news for families. The bill allows people with approved family-sponsorship petitions to temporarily live with their family in the U.S. while waiting for a green card.
The bill also clears backlogs, recapture unused visas, eliminates the “3 and 10-year bars,” and increases the per-country visa caps. These provisions have kept families apart and will allow for more reunions.
The Act also explicitly includes permanent partnerships, which provides more inclusion for LGBTQ+ families.
What Does The U.S. Does Citizenship Act Mean For Workers?
The Biden Administration’s goal is to stimulate the economy with this bill. The Act clears employment-based visa backlogs and reduces wait times. Students who graduated from universities in the U.S. and earned STEM degrees can stay in the country.
The Act also aims to improve access to green cards for workers in lower-wage sectors.
There’s more good news for families: this part of the bill also provides dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorization, and children are prevented from “aging out” of the system.
What Should I Do If I Need Help Applying For Citizenship?
Regardless of your current immigration status, people who wish to apply for U.S. citizenship can do so with the help of Fay, Grafton, & Nunez.
We offer immigration consultations for $200 and will provide you with an in-depth analysis of your immigration issue.