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The Biden Administration has introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, a comprehensive reform bill that would dramatically revamp the U.S. immigration system. Provisions in the bill include:
- A pathway to Lawful Permanent Residence (a.k.a. the “green card”) for certain undocumented immigrants, which would include certain farmworkers, individuals holding Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and individuals classified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The overall path to Lawful Permanent Residence would be five years, with an opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after eight years.
- Removing per-country caps for employment-based permanent residence applicants
- Increasing the allotment of employment-based permanent resident cards available each year and recapturing unused immigrant visas from the last several fiscal years
- Making individuals holding Ph.D. degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields exempt from the annual immigrant visa caps
- Reducing wait times for individuals being sponsored by family members
- Enhancing border security with greater use of technology
While the bill has been introduced in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, it is not yet clear how it will fare. The bill almost certainly will see significant changes following substantial debate, so we will continue to provide updates on any new developments. In the interim, please feel free to contact Ashlyn Kahler-Rios or Brad Hendrick in Caplan & Earnest’s Immigration Law practice with any questions.