Part 1: Immigration Reform in Congress
Since taking office in January, President Biden has used executive orders to change or cancel many of the hard-line immigration policies of his predecessor. At present, multiple bills have been introduced before Congress to further reform our immigration system. In this blog series, we will identify these bills and summarize the key proposals they contain.
The American Dream and Promise Act. This bill passed in the House of Representatives on March 18 with bipartisan support and is headed to the Senate. This bill would grant Dreamers (who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children) conditional permanent resident status (temporary green cards) for 10 years if they obtain a high school education and pass security and criminal background checks. Dreamers could become full permanent residents (with “real” green cards) by getting a college degree, completing two years of military service, or working for at least three years. This bill would also provide green card status to people with Temporary Protect Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) who have been in the U.S. for at least three years and meet the eligibility threshold dates.
Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021. This bill also passed with bipartisan support in the House on March 18. It would create a new temporary status category for Certified Agricultural Workers (CAW). After passing background and security checks, farm workers would be able to renew their CAW status indefinitely as long as they continue performing farm work at least 100 days per year, and their immediate family members would also get CAW status. These temporary workers could apply for green cards once they have completed at 4-8 additional years of agricultural work and paid a $1,000 fine. This bill also makes significant changes to the existing H-2A visa category, which is used for seasonal agricultural work. It streamlines the filing process for employers, revises the H-2A wage calculations to better reflect real-world wages, and changes the annual cap structure to allow for more flexibility based on market conditions.
These bills are not laws yet, and they could face challenges or changes in the Senate. Stay tuned to bestlex.com for more news on immigration law reform!