Policy Name: The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021
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.
Create a New Pathway to Citizenship by providing an 8 year pathway to citizenship for undocumented people who entered the United States before January 1, 2021, and making anyone awaiting their application’s adjudication eligible for a work permit; and providing a fast-tracked 3 year pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.
Restore Family Reunification by clearing family immigration backlogs and lessening wait times; prohibiting religious discrimination against visa applicants and limiting the President’s authority to suspend or restrict entry of broad groups of noncitizens and eliminating the “3- and 10-year bars” preventing some noncitizens from returning to the US after being unlawfully present in the country.
Rebuild Asylum and Protect Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence, Trafficking, and Other Crimes by eliminating the one-year asylum deadline and reducing asylum backlogs; increasing protections for victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and serious crimes; addressing underlying causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; and reinstituting the Central American Minors program to reunite children with US relatives.
Decriminalize Immigration by redefining what “conviction” means in immigration law, excluding many convictions that have been dismissed or expunged; improving immigration court by reducing backlogs, expanding training for judges, improving court technologies, and restoring judges’ discretion to grant relief to deserving individuals; providing appointed counsel to children, vulnerable individuals, and others; and adding increased accountability to actions by Customs & Border Protection (CBP).
Address Other Vital Issues by replacing the word “alien” in immigration law with “noncitizen;” ending employment backlogs and caps and eliminating other hurdles for employment-based green cards; protecting immigrant workers from exploitation; and providing new funding to organizations to expand integration and inclusion.
While this bill does not condition immigration reform on increased immigration enforcement and a border wall, it would increase funding to deploy technology and infrastructure to border. This technology could violate the civil liberties of those entering the United States or those who live in border towns on either side of the border and utilize racially biased facial recognition technology.
The bill also does not address the many areas of federal law that discriminate against immigrants, like laws prohibiting many noncitizens from accessing federal benefits programs until they have had a green card for five years.
Article in the story: Biden immigration bill, 8-year citizenship path have advocates hopeful, but cautious