A Summary of 2021 Immigration Bills
What are the immigration bills?
Congress is looking at several immigration bills, but there is no new immigration bill or new green card program yet. Below is information about who may be eligible if these bills become law. Remember, these bills are not law and have a long process to go before that happens.
What are the bills before Congress?
There have been five bills introduced in Congress. The requirements to qualify may change as Congress discusses the bills.
- U.S. Citizenship Act: Immigrants could apply for temporary legal status and legally work, get a social security card, and may travel outside of the U.S. You could apply for a green card after six years.
- If you entered the U.S. as a child, have TPS or DED, or have been a farmworker for the past few years, you would be able to apply for a green card immediately.
- American Dream and Promise Act of 2021: If you have TPS, DED, or arrived in the country before 18-years-old (including DACA), you would be able to eventually apply for a green card.
- Dream Act of 2021: If you arrived in the U.S. as a child, and have completed some higher education, military service, or employment, you would be able to eventually apply for a green card. If you already have DACA, you may be able immediately apply for a green card.
- Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021: If you work in agriculture and continue to do so, you may be able to apply for a special farm worker status. Eventually, you would be able to apply for a green card if you show you have worked at least 10 years in farm work. Spouses and children of farmworkers may also be able to benefit from this program, too. The program may require you to pay a $1,000 fine as part of the application.
- Citizenship for Essential Workers Act: This bill would allow people who work in health care, agriculture, construction, food, energy, emergency response, care-giving, and other types of work a way to eventually apply for a green card.
Can someone get a green card now under these bills?
NO. None of these bills are law and people cannot access protection through them now. While two of these bills passed the House of Representatives in March (The American Dream & Promise Act and the Farmworker Modernization Act) they still have a long way to go before they might be law.
What needs to happen for these bills to become law?
The bill will only become law after Congress agrees on and passes a bill, and the President signs it. This has not happened yet. After this happens, there is usually then a waiting period before people can apply.
Who may not qualify?
Each bill might change and more limitations may be added before they become law. Every bill is different, but most say that some criminal history could make it harder to qualify. But some bills include exceptions. If you have any questions about whether you may qualify, it’s always important to speak to a legal representative you trust: https://bit.ly/ianimmhelp.
What can I do now to prepare?
- Find a qualified legal service organization near you to help figure out what options you have and what issues may come up when it is time to apply: https://bit.ly.ianimmhelp. It is important to make sure your legal advocate is trustworthy. For tips on how to avoid fraud: https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/avoiding_fraud_may_2021.pdf.
- Any bill that passes may require you to collect important documents. This can include proof of your life here in the United States, like utility bills, school records, leases, work history; identity documents like a passport; and any documents of contact with law enforcement or immigration services.
- Some programs may also require a fee to apply, so it may be helpful to save money now.
Last and most important is to remain informed! Check Ready to Stay’s website for the latest updates.