The Immigration Reform bill -- which is supported and championed by the Biden Administration -- is big and bold. The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 seeks to give certain undocumented immigrants an 8-year path to becoming U.S. citizens, address the root causes of migration and manage the southern border, and reform the U.S. immigration system.
In this episode, I focus on the following provisions in the reform bill:
1. Section 1101, Adjustment of Status of Eligible Entrants to that of Lawful Prospective Immigrant (LPI), and Section 1102, Adjustment of Status of Lawful Prospective Immigrants
2. Section 3104, Promoting Family Unity
Key points to consider:
1. The Immigration Reform bill is bicameral (introduced in the House and Senate on February 18), but is not bipartisan (sponsored by Democrats only and no Republicans).
The comprehensive nature of the bill and the big changes proposed will make it harder to get the necessary votes. Moderation could be needed especially when Democrats have a slight margin in the House and a 50-50 split in the Senate. Vice President Harris has the tie-breaking vote. But a supermajority of 60 senators is normally needed to pass major legislation in the Senate.
To move forward, the full legislation might have to be split up into separate smaller bills, or get added to the budget reconciliation process. Some Republicans have voiced opposition to the Biden Administration's approach to immigration reform.
2. Even if the law is passed and signed by the President, it may take up to a year for the new rules to be drafted. And it will take some time for the new application processes and forms to be rolled out and implemented. The applicant will also have to gather documents, including evidence of identity, proof of physical presence in the U.S. for the period that is required by law, and supporting records for any waiver of inadmissibility that is needed.
3. If you already qualify for another way to immigrate to the United States, such as by employment-based immigration or by a legal, bona fide marriage to a U.S. citizen, it’s better to use the existing path instead of wait for the results of this reform bill.
4. You must not deliberately fall out of status or illegally re-enter the U.S in the hope that you will be eligible for LPI status or other immigration benefits that have yet to be passed into law. Unlawful presence and illegal re-entries to the U.S. continue to have serious immigration consequences unless the law is amended to get rid of them.
For more information on inadmissibility waivers, see:
Dyan Williams, Esq.
The Legal Immigrant podcast provides general information only. It is not legal advice for your specific case or situation. Immigration laws, regulations, policies and rules are subject to change.