Update on U.S. Immigration Reform LegislationFebruary 26, 2021
Last week, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced President Joe Biden’s immigration reform proposal, the “U.S. Citizenship Act.” The 353-page bill would provide a path to citizenship for various undocumented individuals, which the bill refers to as “noncitizens.” It would create the following pathways to citizenship:
- Any noncitizen farm worker who has worked at least 2,300 hours or 400 workdays in the agricultural space during the preceding five-year period can apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.
- Any noncitizen who t was brought to the United States as a minor and has satisfied one of several requirements including high school/GED diploma, higher institution diploma, military services, and/or three years of gainful employment may apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.
- Any noncitizen who has been granted Temporary Protection Status and has been in the United States continuously since January 1, 2017 can apply for permanent residency and then citizenship.
- Any noncitizen can apply for “lawful prospective status” (i.e. green card) if in the country prior to January 2021 and after five years can apply for permanent residency and after two more years can apply for citizenship.
The bill would also require the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor to establish a commission involving labor, employer, and civil rights organizations to help improve the employment verification process and provide additional U.S. visas for workers who are victims of labor violations.
While the bill is comprehensive, it fails to create a new temporary worker visa program that would benefit the cleaning industry. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has suggested that perhaps the legislation should be taken up by Congress in pieces. Republicans generally object to the bill.
ISSA is monitoring these activities closely and will keep its members updated.