On January 20, the Trump presidency officially ended and the Biden presidency began. The inauguration ended four years of relentless, often deeply harmful changes to the immigration system that affected countless lives both in the US and abroad. Now, with the Biden administration firmly in place, the immigration system has a chance to repair itself and provide a valuable service once again.
Today’s blog is about four key changes that the Biden administration has already proposed, and how they’ll affect immigrant communities in the US.
1.) An 8-Year Path to Citizenship for All Undocumented People
There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and now all of them (including DACA and TPS recipients) will finally have a path to permanent residence and citizenship. The proposed bill would give a five-year path to getting a green card, followed by a three-year naturalization process.
Over 1 million people on DACA and TPS, as well as agricultural workers, would get their cases expedited due to long-standing ties with the US and previous vetting.
If this passes, it would solve a long-requested and much-needed permanent solution for Dreamers and undocumented people in general.
2.) Ending 3- and 10-Year Requirements for Green Card Applicants
Previously, some green card applicants were required to leave the country in order to apply. For people who were undocumented for any amount of time, that would have forced them to remain out of the US for between 3 and 10 years due to green card application rules. People who might otherwise have legalized their status chose not to as a result.
The proposed immigration bill reverses these bars, allowing some family members to remain in the US while they seek permanent resident status.
3.) Repurposing Unused Visas
The bill also proposes using millions of unused visas to reduce the backlog of green card applicants, lift the visa cap for certain countries, and expedite green card applications for the children and spouses of permanent residents. It will also ensure that the children of H-1B visa recipients won’t be forced to leave the US as soon as they “age out” and turn 18.
4.) Refocusing from Enforcement to Support
In the last 18 years, Congress has addressed immigration largely by way of enforcement. Over $330 billion has been budgeted for immigration enforcement, doubling the number of Border Patrol agents alone. But in over 30 years, Congress hasn’t passed any measures to actually support or empower immigrant communities.
President Biden’s bill breaks that pattern, seeking to solve the problems of immigration through actual solutions and support rather than simply taking harsher enforcement measures.
As a member of AILA and an advocate for immigrants throughout New Jersey, The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett Esq., P.C. supports these immigration reforms, and we hope they pass as close to their proposed form as possible. Our firm looks forward to helping our clients achieve permanent resident status with much fewer obstacles in the coming years, allowing them to enjoy a life without fear of deportation.