Welcome President Biden!
On his first day in office, President Biden sent the “US Citizenship Act of 2021” to Congress. The text of the Act has not been released yet, but some indications about what is in this expansive bill have come out. Specifically, reports indicate that the Act would provide a path for citizenship for DACA and TPS holders as well as certain farmworkers. In addition, changes may come to family- and employment-based petitions and additional protections to people including asylum seekers, crime victims, and survivors of human trafficking. Early indications also suggest that the Act will address issues of processing both at the border and in immigration court.
A lot of excitement circles around this news, however, it is important to remember that this Act will need to pass through both houses of Congress before any changes take place. Invariably, Congress will amend the Act and any final version may look very different than the current version of the Act. In addition, the Act has only just been sent to Congress. Any changes will not take effect for months, if the Act passes at all. Remember that the Senate in particular is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans so any successful legislation will need bipartisan support to avoid getting stuck and even eventually pass.
While we are waiting to see what exactly gets passed by the government, you can start gathering documents to be ready if you think you may be eligible:
1. Identity – renew your passport, your driver’s license, any government issued identification that has your name and picture.
2. Family documents – get a copy of your marriage and/or divorce certificates; your, your spouse, and your children’s birth certificate.
3. Residence – collect document showing where you lived in the United States and when. This may be a lease document, utility bills like your water or phone bill, anything you can think of to show when you began living in the U.S. and that you have not left.
4. Financial – your tax returns or a statement from the IRS that you paid taxes each year.
5. Court documents – both criminal and immigration court. If you have anything pending, try to get them taken care of.
Overall, we will all need to exercise patience. Change takes time and may not take the form that you want. Lastly remember that any change will only add to what is available so if you have other options, there’s no reason to delay. Also, continuing with what has already been started, whether with USCIS or immigration court, is important. If you have questions or want to be added to our contact list for any changes, give us a call at 443.741.2258 or email us at email@example.com