This month has been relatively quiet as compared to the craziness of the election season and post-election actions, but we are beginning to see some much needed progress on the immigration front.
On March 18th, the House of Representatives passed two bills: The first, H.R. 6, provides a path to citizenship for 2.5 million Dreamers current participants in the DACA program. H.R. 1603, The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (FWMA) creates a program for farmworkers, their spouses, and their children to gain legal status if they continue to work in agriculture and pay a $1,000 fine.
The problem now is that the Democrats need 60 votes in the Senate to pass these into law, but because the Senate is so narrowly divided, they are unlikely to get them. Of the two, FWMA is the more likely to pass, as it was developed with some collaboration from Republicans.
Public Charge Rule Cancelled
The other significant development this month was that the infamous public charge rule implemented by the Trump administration is no longer in effect as of March 9th. That means that applicants for adjustment of status do not need to provide the Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency with their Form I-485. Applicants and petitioners for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status do not need to provide information related to the receipt of public benefits on Form I-129 (Part 6), Form I-129CW (Part 6), Form I-539 (Part 5), and Form I-539A (Part 3). USCIS has also stated that any such information submitted by applicants up until now will be disregarded when processing applications.
This is obviously a huge win for the immigration community, especially as people are still getting back on their feet from the COVID-19 pandemic and may need to take advantage of public benefits.
Stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for the latest on immigration policy!