On January 20, 2021, President Biden announced the US Citizenship Act of 2021 memorializing his commitment to modernize the US immigration system. On February 18, 2021, Senator Bob Mendez and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez introduced the bill to the Senate and House (respectively). If passed, it would create the largest legalization program in US history. This page provides an overview of the act’s provisions.
President Joseph R. Biden Jr. set forth an ambitious immigration agenda in the early days of the Biden-Harris administration, committing both to reverse harmful policies implemented by the Trump administration and to revitalize the US immigration system more broadly. In his first 100 days in office, President Biden articulated his immigration and refugee protection goals and reversed many of his predecessor’s policies in a series of executive actions. He also raised the refugee admissions cap for FY 2021 and endorsed the US Citizenship Act of 2021, which would represent the most sweeping immigration reform legislation in decades and create the largest legalization program in US history. President Biden’s executive actions address the situation at the southern border, root causes of irregular migration from Central America, impacts of climate change on migration, COVID-19 travel restrictions, and fortification of existing legal immigration pathways, as well as commitments to create new ones.
On April 22, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order halting for 60 days the issuance of green cards to certain immigrants, arguing that foreign workers should not compete with US-citizen workers for jobs at a time of a public health crisis and economic downturn. Public officials and immigration advocates expressed strong opposition to the executive order, citing studies that show that immigrants overall contribute to the health of the US economy and complement, not compete with, US workers.
President Trump signed three executive orders the week of January 23 which offend the dignity and threaten the rights of immigrants and refugees both in the United States and globally. On January 25 at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Trump signed executive orders on border security and interior enforcement. On January 27, he signed an executive order at the Pentagon on refugees and visa holders from designated nations.
The adoption of the New York Declaration on the Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 19 has launched a new process to negotiate two compacts by 2018: the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (hereinafter referred to as the Global Compact on Migration). Agreeing to a new Global Compact on Refugees should be challenging enough, but reaching an agreement on a Global Compact on Migration will require skill, patience, and, above all, compromise…