All eyes are on Congress this week, for what has been dubbed “Immigration Week”. After spending much of the past month working on COVID-19 relief legislation, immigration reform finally gets its turn, with important votes on two bills: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the American Dream and Promise Act. The first aims to provide permanent residency for undocumented farmworkers, while the second would allow DACA-covered DREAMers and people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to stay in the country and apply for residency.
These bills are a way for Democrats to make some progress on immigration while figuring out how to pass the much more comprehensive U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.
End of Green Card Freeze
In other important news, at the end of February, President Biden finally lifted a freeze on green cards issued by President Trump during the pandemic. The freeze was instituted under the guise of COVID-19, as a means of “protecting the job market”.
The actual effects of the freeze were to put tens of thousands of legitimate family-based immigration applications on hold, and further exacerbate USCIS’s processing backlog. Nonetheless, things are now looking better for those intending to apply for a family-based immigrant visa. If you find yourself in this category, reach out to me and let’s talk about your case!
Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans in the US
The Biden Administration announced earlier this week that it will allow many Venezuelans that are currently illegally in the US to receive Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to stay in the country, given the humanitarian and economic crisis in Venezuela.
On March 8, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status for 18 months, until September 2022.
As stated by Homeland Security, “this new designation of TPS for Venezuela enables Venezuelan nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Venezuela) currently residing in the United States to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements”.
Our Office on the News
Last but not least, our office was in the news this month, in relation to a U-visa case we are working on. Our work in this area is very important to us, so if you or someone you know is the victim of a crime and needs help securing their U visa and immigration status, please reach out to us ASAP!