On Feb. 18, President Biden’s immigration plan was introduced in Congress. The president has pledged to reform the immigration system and give undocumented Americans a pathway to citizenship. Attempts at immigration reform have long stalled in Congress, but the president hopes to overcome the political challenges while presenting smart solutions for undocumented people living in the U.S.
The legislation, called the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, was introduced by Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Linda T. Sanchez. The bill is based on President Biden’s immigration plan proposal that he announced on Jan. 20. Ten other lawmakers joined Menendez and Sanchez for the announcement.
The plan calls for providing a path to citizenship over a period of eight years for a majority of the 11 million people who are undocumented and living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1. Immigrants would be required to pass background checks and pay taxes. They would then be allowed to work and live in the nation for five years. Once they complete those things, they could apply for permanent resident status with the opportunity to become naturalized U.S. citizens after three additional years.
If the bill passes, family-based immigration restrictions would be lifted so that it would be easier for children and spouses of people already living in the U.S. to join them. The legislation would also expand work visa programs to allow more people to come to the U.S. for work.
The bill would also add additional resources to help border agents process migrants who are legally at the ports of entry and would invest $4 billion over a four-year period to foreign, distressed economies to try to prevent people from fleeing their home countries in search of more opportunities in the U.S.
Since the Senate is split, it will likely be difficult for the bill to gain support from 10 Republicans for it to be passed. Sixty votes are needed to beat a filibuster. Senator Menendez dismissed calls by some advocates to try to pass more targeted legislation and pointed to the fact that a majority of Americans support the proposed reforms.
Get Help from a New York Immigration Lawyer
While the legislation faces a steep hill to be passed, it represents a change in the government’s approach to immigration issues. The attorneys at Oltarsh & Associates have more than 50 years of experience handling all types of immigration matters for their clients. If you need immigration services, contact a New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates today by calling (212) 944-9420.