Published on March 10, 2021
On March 4, 2021, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced that the immigration reform bill supported by President Biden would not be put to a vote this month. Credited as a comprehensive and sweeping immigration reform bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 will instead be reconsidered by the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2021.
As background, on his first day in office, President Biden announced wide-reaching immigration reform measures in his proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (“the Act”). Key elements of the Act include providing certain undocumented individuals temporary legal status and the opportunity to apply for green cards after five years. Additionally, individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and certain farmworkers who meet eligibility requirements would be permitted to immediately apply for permanent resident status. Under the Act, individuals who have approved immigrant petitions, but whose priority date requires a waiting period of over ten years before they may apply for a green card will not be counted against the quota limitations, the effect of which will reduce the overall visa backlog. Employment-based immigration reforms proposed in the Act include removing employment-based country caps for immigrant visas beginning in FY 2022. However, the Act also grants the Department of Homeland Security authority to temporarily restrict the issuance of second and third preference employment-based visas based on economic conditions, including high unemployment rates.
Although a vote on the Act has been postponed, two different immigration bills were introduced in the House of Representatives on March 3, 2021. Specifically, the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, both of which originally passed in the House of Representatives in 2019, have been reintroduced. The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 (H.R. 6) would provide a pathway to seek permanent residence for certain individuals with DACA, TPS, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021 (H.R. 1537) would establish legal status for certain undocumented farmworkers and their families, as well as amend the H-2A agricultural worker program. The House of Representatives is anticipated to vote on the American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the next couple weeks.
We will continue tracking the progress of President Biden’s proposed immigration reform bill. Please contact the Immigration Attorneys at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland should you have additional questions.
Amy Royalty can be reached at [email protected].
Jen Chen can be reached at [email protected].
Cody Nunn can be reached at [email protected].
Marsha Mavunkel can be reached at [email protected].
Janet Cheetham can be reached at [email protected].
Joel Paget can be reached at [email protected].
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This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.