In January, the Biden administration announced plans for the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 with the goal of implementing significant immigration reform. The bill was formally introduced in both the House and the Senate in February and is currently working its way through the legislative process in both chambers. The bill contains hundreds of pages of legalese, as most congressional bills do. The goal of the bill is much more direct: “To provide an earned path to citizenship, to address the root causes of migration and responsibly manage the southern border, and to reform the immigrant visa system, and for other purposes.”
Breakdown of the Bill
If it passes, the new law would create the largest immigration legalization program in United States history. Some of the key highlights of the bill include the following:
Many undocumented immigrants would be eligible for lawful prospective immigrant (LPI) status if they were physically here in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021. LPI status would allow them to stay in the country lawfully, be eligible for social security cards and work authorizations, and travel outside the U.S. and be readmitted as long as the time away does not exceed 180 days. They would also be able to renew their LPI status every six years; however, if the individual passes a national security and criminal background check and pays taxes, they would be eligible for lawful permanent residence (LPR) status in five years. It is estimated that this new rule would apply to about 11 million undocumented immigrants. Other immigrants who would also be eligible for LPI status are those who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic at jobs that are deemed “essential critical labor or services,” temporary protected status (TPR) recipients, and temporary agricultural workers classified as H-2A.
All DACA recipients and other noncitizens who came to this country as children would be eligible for lawful permanent residence. There are a number of criteria the individuals would have to meet to qualify.
Individuals who worked in agriculture (labor or services) for a minimum of 400 workdays or 2,300 hours during the five years prior to applying for their green card would be eligible for LPR status.
If it passes, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would also provide a number of reforms to existing immigration rules, including the residence requirement for naturalization being reduced from five years to three years, the one-year deadline for filing asylum applications being eliminated, and eligibility for V visas being expanded to help families stay together.
Contact a DuPage County Immigration Attorney
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is welcome news for many who have been pushing for immigration reform. It is also welcome news for those immigrants who seek to make a home, find employment, or obtain an education in the U.S. If you are having immigration issues, you need a seasoned Itasca immigration lawyer advocating for you. Call Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. today at 630-875-1700 to schedule a confidential consultation.