Breaking Down President Biden’s New Immigration Bill
President Joe Biden’s administration announced a new expansive immigration bill that, if passed by Congress, would provide an eight-year pathway to U.S. citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the country.
Speak with an experienced family petitions attorney in Tennessee to find out how President Biden’s new legislation – titled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 – would affect your immigration status.
What is in President Biden’s New Immigration Bill?
Let’s break down the contents of President Biden’s new immigration bill:
- A shorter path to citizenship. The new legislation would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship, down from 13 years required by a prior bill in 2013. Here’s how it works: An undocumented immigrant would be granted temporary status (TPS) for five years and would then be able to petition for a permanent green card status after another three years. This amounts to a total of eight years of waiting. To be eligible for the citizenship plan under the new bill, an applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021.
- Certain immigrants are eligible for green cards immediately. The citizenship wait times would not apply to agricultural immigrant workers (farmworkers), Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children (DACA holders, also called Dreamers). These immigrants would be eligible for green cards immediately.
- Changes in terminology. President Biden’s proposed bill would also remove the derisive word “alien” from the country’s immigration laws. If passed, the term “non-citizen” would replace the word “alien,” which is currently defined as any person who is not a citizen or national of the U.S.
- More diversity visas available. The immigration bill would also increase the number of available diversity visas. The diversity visa (DV) lottery allows nationals from select countries to apply for green cards. The new bill would increase the number of diversity visas to 80,000 (currently, the maximum number of diversity visas is 55,000 each fiscal year).
- Exemption from the visa cap for certain immigrants. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would exempt families of permanent lawful residents from annual visa caps. The exemption would apply to partners, spouses, and children under the age of 21.
- Increased funding and access to counsel. The new immigration bill would authorize more funding for legal orientation programs and counsel for vulnerable immigrants, including children. The legislation would also eliminate the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims.
- Repealed ban on reentering the country. President Biden’s proposed bill would repeal three-year and 10-year bars to reentry into the United States for individuals who have previously been illegally residing in the U.S.
- Clear family visa backlogs. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would clear backlogs and eliminate lengthy wait times for family visas.
- Clear employment-based visa backlogs. The bill would reduce wait times for employment-based visa backlogs by eliminating per-country visa caps and capturing unused visas.
Consult with a Nashville immigration attorney to determine how the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would affect you and your family. If you are an undocumented immigrant, it is essential to understand your rights. Contact Ozment Law, PLC, to schedule a case review. Call 615-321-8888 or fill out our contact form.