New York, NY-Today, shortly after Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office to become President and Vice President of the United States, the new administration unveiled the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. The expansive legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for roughly 11 million people currently living in the U.S. without legal status. In addition to the bill, President Biden also issued several Executive Orders, including a rescission of the profoundly controversial Muslim Ban, a stop to border wall construction, the fortification of DACA, the repeal of out of control interior enforcement orders, and extended protection for Liberians.
The flurry of executive actions is the first step of the Biden/Harris’ administration to fulfill the campaign’s promise to erase their predecessor’s legacy on immigration. Together, the policies put the 46th President on track to meet a key campaign promise to immigrant voters, who proved a critical part of his winning coalition.
Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, Interim Co-Executive Directors of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:
“Today, America’s immigrants breathe a sigh of relief. The Trump administration and its cruel and inhumane approach are gone, and President Biden made good on his promise to begin to reverse Trump's awful legacy by unveiling one of the most expansive immigration proposals in recent history. We welcome this legislation and the President’s slew of executive orders that recognize how foundational immigrants have always been to America’s success and how critical they will be to our economic recovery from this pandemic.
But today is just the start of our journey to justice. As we celebrate a new Administration, we are also reminded of previous administrations' failure to reform our immigration system. The American public has long been in support of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, which is why we won’t settle for platitudes or promises again. President Biden’s legislative proposal is a critical first step in recognizing immigrants' value and contributions to this country now, during this pandemic, and throughout history.
We look forward to working with this White House, Congress and New York’s Congressional representatives and new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—not just to move forward this critical piece of legislation, but to fully restore humanity and justice to our immigration system.”
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 incorporates critical steps to reset the country’s immigration system:
- Establishing an earned path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants and an expedited path to citizenship for Dreamers, individuals with Temporary Protected Status and farmworkers.
- Addressing the root causes of migration and strengthening humanitarian responses in the Western Hemisphere.
- Expanding refugee and asylum processing and improving immigration courts.
- Managing the border and protecting border communities.
- Reforming the immigrant visa system and promoting family reunification.