The Citizenship Act of 2021: Biden’s Sweeping Immigration Plan Sets…

Biden's Immigration Plan

President Joe Biden

Biden's immigration plan represents a major pivot, away from nativism, division, and hatred, towards a more inclusive, humane, safe and economically vibrant America.

Yesterday, after months of speculation, and after decades of failed attempts by many to reform the U.S. immigration system, newly-inaugurated President Joseph Biden takes a bold step in fulfilling his campaign promise to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, by announcing his bill, the U.S. Citizenship of Act of 2021.

Richard Herman, a nationally-renowned immigration lawyer and co-author of the book, Immigrant, Inc. – Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American Worker) (Wiley, 2009), says that this new immigration bill, if passed by Congress, will make America stronger:

“Our current immigration system is broken, fails to treat people with dignity, separates families, and undermines our economy and safety. Legalization of undocumented immigrants, many of whom have lived and worked in the U.S. for more than 10 years and have deep roots in the community, deserve an opportunity to join the American family. Similarly, for too long, the U.S. immigration system has disregarded the talents of highly-educated immigrants, many of whom have left the U.S. or have immigrated to more welcoming countries. The Biden Immigration bill is a great first step in modernizing an antiquated system and re-imagining how our immigration laws must reflect our character as a nation of immigrants.”

This bill comes after former President Trump has waged a four-year war on immigrants, both undocumented, as well as legal immigrants. Leveraging white nationalism ideology and the pandemic, Trump implemented measures to restrict legal immigration and demonize immigrants.

It is anticipated that nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants may be eligible to normalize their immigration status should the Biden bill become law. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of high skilled immigrants, primarily those from India and China, who have been waiting years for a green card, will be able to obtain permanent residency should Congress approve.    

The proposed Citizenship Act of 2021, which accompanies a flurry of Executive Orders by President Biden, reversing many of Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration, such as the Travel Ban from predominantly Muslim nations, provides the following:

  • Foreign nationals present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, and who pass a criminal background check, would be eligible to apply for temporary legal status, apply for green cards after five years if they meet certain requirements, and citizenship three years later;
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA or Dreamers) holders, Temporary Protected (TPS) recipients, and farm workers who are present on or before January 1, 2021, who meet certain requirements would be immediately eligible for green cards and citizenship three years later;
  • The Secretary of DHS may waive the physical presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017 who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and humanitarian purposes;
  • Keeping families together by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating lengthy wait times, increasing per-country visa caps. and eliminating so called “3 and 10-year bars” and other provisions that keep families apart;
  • Embraces diversity by including the NO BAN ACT that prohibits discrimination based on religion and limits presidential authority to issue future bans. The bill also includes increasing Diversity Visas to 80,000 from 55,000;
  • Grow our economy by clearing employment-based visa backlogs, recaptures unused visas, reduces lengthy wait times, and eliminates per country caps. The bill makes it easier for graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the U.S.; improves access to green cards for workers in lower-wage sector; and eliminates other unnecessary hurdles for employment based green cards;
  • Provides dependents of H1B visa holders work authorization, and children are prevented from “aging out” of the system;
  • Creates a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development, gives DHS the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, and incentivizes higher wages for non-immigrant higher skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers;
  • Protects workers from exploitation and improves the employment verification process;
  • Supports asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations. The bill eliminates the one year deadline for filing for asylum and provides funding to reduce the asylum application backlog;
  • Improve the immigration court system with new technology, and to protect vulnerable individuals by providing judges with training and discretion to review cases and grant relief to deserving individuals;
  • Increases protection for U visa, T visa, and VAWA applicants, including raising the cap on U visas from 10,000 to 30,000; and
  • $4 billion interagency plan that would provide aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in effort to tackle the root causes of undocumented immigration: violence, poverty and corruption.

In analyzing the Biden immigration plan, Richard Herman, founder of the Herman Legal Group, states the following:

“This plan represents a major pivot, away from nativism, division, and hatred, towards a more inclusive, humane, safe and economically vibrant America.”

Contact the Herman Legal Group for More Information: 1-800-808-4013

Founded in 1995, the Herman Legal Group focuses on immigration law, including family immigration, removal defense, employment-based immigration, investor immigration, asylum, immigration waivers. We are headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, and have additional offices in Columbus, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Miami, and Dallas. We serve clients, in over 12 languages, in all 50 states.

Richard Herman is one of the pioneers of the movement by Midwest cities to attract and welcome immigrants who can help grow the economy, create jobs and reverse progressive depopulation. He regularly advises cities and counties on innovative ways to leverage existing immigration law to create jobs and attract foreign direct investment. Voted for inclusion in the 2015-2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in America© and listed in Super Lawyers© for more than fifteen consecutive years, Richard began his immigration law career by moving to Moscow, Russia in 1993, straight out of law school, to eventually open a law office two blocks from the Kremlin to represent post-Soviet entrepreneurs.

As an authority on U.S. immigration law and a provocateur for immigrant-friendly, pro-entrepreneur policies , Richard is often invited to strategize and deliver keynote addresses around the country, as he has often done for Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch’s Partnership for a New American Economy, chambers of commerce, universities and cities.

Known for his direct and sometimes controversial style, Richard has appeared in numerous national media outlets, including FOX News, National Public Radio, and has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, Inc., PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch and InformationWeek.

He is the co-author of the book, Immigrant, Inc. Richard is married to Kimberly Chen, an immigrant from Taiwan who overcame her undocumented status to become an American physician. They live in the Cleveland area with their two children, whom they are raising to be citizens of the world.