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What to know about the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Immigration

President Joe Biden is sending the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress. The modernized immigration system changes diverse immigration employment, asylum seekers and the refugee system, so affected immigrants in California should learn about the updates.

Resetting the immigration system tone

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 attempts to reaffirm the American people’s faith in the immigration system and reform family visas. The largest changes start at the highest level of the immigration system. The Trump Administration made executive orders to restrict the immigration process, but the new legislation prohibits discrimination based on religion in the immigration process. The legislation is resetting the immigration system by changing the language of the law: One way is to remove “aliens” and replace it with “non-citizens.”

Overhauling the immigration system

The overhaul of the immigration system includes pathways to citizenship. People with family visas and other work-based immigrant processes will see changes. The bill lays out an eight-year pathway to citizenship for people without legal status. The first phase is to grant temporary legal status after five years. Applicants must clear background checks and pay taxes. The second phase allows green card holders to apply for citizenship after background checks. The bill wants to clear the backlog of family-based systems by ending the wait times and increasing country visa caps.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 also aims to end the backlog of employment-based immigration processes. The bill will recapture unused visas, end country visa caps, and reduce the wait times for employment visas. There are additional benefits and protections to dependents of foreign national workers. Dependents may obtain work authorization with the correct visas, and children wouldn’t be able to age out of the program.

While the president introduced the bill early, Congress will have a lot of work to do before it passes. There are already some criticisms to be addressed before the changes would be implemented.