February 2021 Newsletter

Biden’s First Weeks

It has been a busy month! We were happy to see that President Biden kept his word and made immigration one of his biggest priorities, signing a number of policy documents in his first week in office.

The first, a memorandum to the Attorney General, protects the DACA program by encouraging him to take “all actions he deems appropriate, consistent with applicable law, to preserve and fortify DACA”.

The second was a presidential proclamation overturning the Trump administration’s Executive Order 13780, more well known as the travel ban from a number of countries like Syria, Iran, Yemen, and many others.

The third, was an Executive Order reversing Executive Order 13768, the Trump administration’s order that cut federal funding to cities it deemed to be “sanctuary cities”.

The fourth was another presidential proclamation ending the emergency status that enabled the Trump administration to divert funds from the Department of Defense for building a border wall with Mexico.

But the president’s most ambitious action to date is the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which he passed on to Congress in his first week in office. The act is a broad piece of legislation that tackles a number of key issues, including (but not limited to):

  • Allowing undocumented individuals to apply for temporary legal status, and ultimately green cards and citizenship.
  • Allowing Dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers, who meet specific requirements to apply for green cards immediately.
  • Shortening the time between obtaining a green card and obtaining citizenship to just three years.
  • Expanding family based immigration by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating lengthy wait times, and increasing per-country visa caps.
  • It also eliminates the so-called “3 and 10-year bars.”
  • Allowing immigrants with approved family-sponsorship petitions to join family in the United States on a temporary basis while they wait for green cards to become available, which could reunite families much sooner.

This is only a fraction of what is covered in the bill, though these are the things that are likely to affect immigrants most immediately. For more information on what is in the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, read our blog post here.