President Biden sent his immigration reform bill to Congress on his first day in office. Today, the bill, titled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, was formally introduced to Congress by the U.S. Congressman and the President of the United States. Senator Robert "Bob" Menendez and the Congresswoman Linda T. Sanchez.
Prior to the presentation, Biden administration officials elaborated on the highlights of the immigration reform bill, which aims to modernize the immigration system and provide a pathway to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
Immigration reform: 10 key points of the U.S. Citizenship Act 2021
The immigration reform bill presented today contains 353 pages. Below are some of the key points of the U.S. Citizenship Act 2021:
- Establishes an 8-year guideline for obtaining U.S. citizenship.
- It establishes a temporary status of 5 years before being able to apply for permanent residency: during this time, immigrants must undergo background checks, pay taxes and comply with other requirements.
- DACA, TPS and undocumented farmworker beneficiaries will be able to apply directly for a green card. After three years as permanent residents, they may begin the naturalization process.
- Eliminates the so-called "punishment law" of 3 and 10 years that prohibits the return to the United States of immigrants who lived in the country illegally.
- Increases the number of diversity visas (for the visa lottery) from 55,000 to 80,000.
- Eliminates backlogs in obtaining employment-based visas. Retrieves unused visas. Reduces waiting times and eliminates visa limits per country.
- Eliminates the one-year limit for filing an asylum case.
- Authorizes the provision of legal advice to children and vulnerable persons.
- Increases penalties for employers who knowingly hire and exploit undocumented workers.
- Increases the number of U visas from 10,000 to 30,000
* Important: This immigration reform bill will only benefit immigrants who were already in the country before January 1, 2021. It should be noted that immigrants must be admissible to the country and meet a series of requirements to be eligible.
It must be emphasized that this is a project - NOT LAW. It must still be debated and approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is not yet known if there will be a consensus, and if it is approved, some provisions could be modified or eliminated.
You can't do immigration paperwork based on what this immigration reform bill says. If someone says yes, it is immigration fraud.
What they can do while they are waiting is to prepare. They should start collecting and preparing their documents to demonstrate the necessary requirements under the bill.
Immigration reform: recommendations on the U.S. Citizenship Act 2021:
- Obtain your passport, birth certificate and evidence of all the time up to the present that you have lived in the United States. Some examples of evidence are tax returns, bank statements, remittance receipts, birth certificates of your children, among others.
- They must maintain the best possible conduct and avoid violating the laws of the country, especially with regard to criminal law.
- If you have had immigration or criminal history problems, you should gather all documents related to those cases for an immigration attorney to evaluate to determine whether or not it will affect you in your future immigration proceedings. This includes a court summary of each criminal case you have been involved in and any immigration documents.
- If you are currently being prosecuted for a criminal act or immigration violation, hire a criminal and immigration attorney to defend you. Do not plead guilty to any crime without first consulting with an immigration attorney.
- Save as much as you can to be able to pay the immigration fees and legal fees of an attorney, if you are unable to do the immigration paperwork on your own.
- Do not go to any notary, immigration consultant, multiservice or paperwork fillerbecause they are not authorized to give legal advice.