The ruling Democratic party in the US has introduced a Citizenship Act, which will eliminate the country quota for green cards and make changes in the much sought-after H-1B visa system.
The US Citizenship Act includes three key pillars: responsible and effective border management, economic growth and strengthened labor force, and family reunification.
The bill enables individuals who have lived in the United States for years, and in some cases for decades, to keep their families together lawfully and earn the security and stability of US citizenship.
The bill establishes a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented noncitizens by allowing them to apply for temporary legal status (“Lawful Prospective Immigrant Status”), with the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residence (i.e., “green card”) after five years if they pass criminal and national security background checks and pay taxes.
Dreamers, recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and agricultural workers who meet specific requirements will be immediately eligible for green cards. Eligible spouses and children are included.
The bill creates a new definition of spouse to include permanent partners and eliminates discrimination against LGBTQ+ families by permitting citizens and permanent residents in binational same-sex relationships to sponsor their permanent partners for immigration to the United States and to serve as qualifying relatives for other immigration benefits and purposes.
The bill also extends automatic citizenship to children with at least one U.S. citizen parent, regardless of the biological relationship to that parent.
Protects orphans, widows, and children, and provides equal treatment to stepchildren.
The bill expands current protections to ensure that the death of a sponsor does not prevent the immigrant from establishing eligibility for the relevant benefit, prevents the children of fiancés of U.S. citizens from aging out of the visa application and green card processes, and provides equal treatment for stepchildren to qualify as “immediate relatives” as long as they were under age 21 at the time of their parent’s marriage.
“As the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico, I am honoured to introduce the US Citizenship Act — a bold, transformative framework that will help fix our broken immigration system,” said Congresswoman Sanchez.
“The US Citizenship Act will help us grow our economy, make our borders safer and more secure, and deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants already living and working here,” she said.
Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries emphasised the role of immigrants in the making of America as he called for an immigration law overhaul.
“We do have a broken immigration system here in the United States of America, and it does require a thoughtful and comprehensive solution, an approach that is anchored in our values as a country based on two pillars. One, a nation anchored, of course, in the rule of law, but a nation of immigrants, people who come from all across the world to form the gorgeous mosaic that is America and the diversity in America that is and should continue to be the envy of the world,” Mr Jeffries said.