The United States Citizenship Act was introduced on February 18, 2021. Sponsored in the House by Representative Linda Sanchez (D-Calif) and in the Senate by Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the bill calls for broad immigration reform, including creating paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, expanding the number of available visas, and creating more access for highly skilled workers.
Much of the focus has been on the proposed eight-year path to citizenship for “Dreamers,” TPS beneficiaries, and the 11 million undocumented individuals currently living in the United States. Other highlights include changes to asylum policies and increased aid to Central America to address root causes of migration. Major changes have also been proposed regarding on immigrant and nonimmigrant employment-related visas.
For immigrant visas, the bill tries to balance the economic benefits of increased immigration with concerns for U.S. workers. Key proposals include:
Similarly, key provisions regarding nonimmigrant, temporary work visas include:
Recognizing that several recent attempts at passing a comprehensive immigration bill have not made it out of Congress, initial discussions include a “multiple trains” strategy – prioritizing pieces of the bill to move through Congress – while continuing to push for the broader overhaul.
President Joe Biden has noted that he has “laid out [his] vision for what it will take to reform our immigration system and [he] look[s] forward to working with leaders in Congress to this done.”
As the negotiations in Congress and with the White House move forward, we will provide updates regarding the aspects of the bill that are likely to succeed.