Shortly after taking office, Biden introduced his immigration bill to Congress as part of a wider effort to modernize the current immigration system. The bill, titled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, has the power to change millions of lives. This legislative proposal would:
- Create a Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Individuals
- Change Government Rhetoric Regarding Immigrants: Immigration laws will now use the word “noncitizen” instead of “alien.”
- Keep Families Together: The bill allows immigrants with pre-approved family sponsorships to temporarily live with family in the United States while waiting on a green card.
- Optimize the Current System
- Embrace Diversity: The bill introduces the No Ban Act which would prohibit religious discrimination and limit presidential power to impose bans based on religion. The number of Diversity Visas will also be increased.
- Promote Integration: Government funds will be allocated to organizations promoting integration, teaching English, and helping immigrants on their pathway to citizenship.
- Protect Workers from Exploitation and Improve Employment Verification Process
- Grow our Economy: The bill helps those who graduated with advanced STEM degrees from U.S. universities and dependents of H-1B Visa holders stay in the U.S. It also eliminates unnecessary hurdles for employment based green cards.
- Supplement Existing Border Resources with Technology and Infrastructure
- Manage the Border and Protect Border Communities: The bill provides funding to promote officer professionalism and to DHS to develop protocols for the safety of individuals in CPB custody.
- Crackdown on Criminal Organizations
- Increase Assistance to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala
- Support Asylum Seekers and Other Vulnerable Populations: Eliminates the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims and raises the cap on U Visas
- Create Safe and Legal Channels for People to Seek Protection
- Improve the Immigration Courts
The bill still must face Congress, and its future is uncertain. There will be much to follow in the weeks ahead. Still, this bill provides hope for many, and is a promising beginning for the Biden administration. In this nation of immigrants, it is time for the government to uphold the idea of equal opportunity for all.
More information can be found at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-