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How Biden’s Path to Citizenship Will Affect Immigration

Immigration Attorney Atlanta Jameel Manji author 1Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: February 11, 2021, Last Updated on: June 21, 2024.

How will President Biden’s eight-year pathway to citizenship plan affect your future in the United States? Find out here.

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Jameel Manji

Jameel Manji, Manji Law

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with your pathway to citizenship, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

Exciting News About the Path to Citizenship

After four years of strict immigration stances from Donald Trump, which resulted in numerous questionable policies, President Joe Biden has proposed his pathway to citizenship reform plans.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is based on a proposal president Biden announced on his first day in office. According to the White House fact sheet, the bill creates a way for millions of undocumented immigrants to obtain citizenship. Among other provisions, the bill also improves technology for immigration courts and reduces backlogs, expands family case management programs, and expands protections for foreign nationals assisting U.S. troops.

Marked by an effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Trump administration’s attempt to implement many restrictions would have impacted the future of over a million people. Fortunately, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled to maintain the program that benefitted several hundred thousand Dreamers.

On his first day in office, Biden revealed immigration legislation that consists of an eight-year pathway to citizenship for almost 11-million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. Among them are those in the DACA – temporary protection program, essential workers, as well as those who hold a temporary protected status, meaning they can’t go back to their home countries. The legislation, initially reported by the Washington Post, will also consist of broadening refugee admissions and an enforcement strategy that releases innovative technology to patrol the border.

Since this is an area of the law that is not only complex but is also quickly evolving, it is wise to seek the advice of a reputable immigration attorney like Manji Law, P.C., who has access to the latest information and who can take quick action with your case in response to it.

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The Driving Force Behind the Biden Immigration Reform

The Biden immigration reform bill pushes the majority of the president’s essential campaign promises regarding undocumented immigrants’ naturalization. During the primaries, President Biden referred to the Trump administration’s mass deportations and restrictive policies as an “unrelenting assault” against American values and said that he would continue to protect the border while making sweeping changes to improve the policies.

In fact, during the primaries, Biden promised the American people that reform on immigration policy would be one of his “first-day concerns” and that he would use whatever powers he needed to implement a lawful reversal of Trump’s policies. With the support of the Democrats, Biden’s proposal could provide the fastest path to lawful citizenship. However, it does not address additional security at the border between the U.S. and Mexico, which the majority of Republicans may require to pledge their support of the new plan.


Congress’s Reaction to Biden’s Pathway to Citizenship Plan

As anticipated, many Congress members are experiencing a mixed response to Biden’s plan that falls mainly along the party lines.

Despite the slim Democratic majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the current Biden administration might find it difficult to pass the legislation. Democrats in the Senate would require all 50 members’ support to result in a tie with Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris may then be able to break that tie. Democrats hold a majority of 222 to 211 bulk in the House, which may make it difficult to pass and apply the revisions.

Democratic Representative Linda Sánchez from California will lead the immigration legislation in the House, and Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey will lead the effort in the U.S. Senate. Republicans were less excited to welcome the inbound president’s strategy. Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton said Biden’s program was “extreme” and was one of the first to denounce his immigration efforts in America.

This has been a hotly debated topic in America for many years and could continue to divide the country. Rather than allowing the naturalization of many undocumented immigrants and even DACA children, some people would like to see those living in the country return back to their native nations.

What the Biden Immigration Plan Includes

According to the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, Biden’s immigration plan will address three areas:

  • Border security innovation
  • Pathway to citizenship for many immigrants without legal status
  • Primary source of immigration

Biden administration has proposed that certain immigrants who have temporary protected status obtain citizenship. That way, TPS holders who meet certain conditions could apply for green cards that allow them to obtain lawful permanent resident status. On the other hand, the Trump administration sought to end TPS for almost all beneficiaries.

Additionally, President Biden is anticipated to take quick executive actions to reverse other Trump immigration actions, consisting of an end to the restriction on arrivals from several primarily Muslim nations. According to those familiar with the proposal, it is also anticipated to include provisions to the Reuniting Families Act.

If you or your children seek to become United States citizens, you should reach out to a local immigration lawyer for a consultation.


Other Aspects of Biden’s Reform Proposal

The reform proposal will also remove the three- and ten-year bars, which specifies the amount of time people who were unlawfully in the United States are disallowed from being readmitted into the U.S. Previously, those who remain in the nation unlawfully for 180 days or less are refused access for three years. Those who are unlawfully in the U.S. for more than one year will not have access for ten years. These provisions created difficulties for many undocumented individuals to become permanent residents even if they had a U.S. citizen spouse or another close family member.

The bill will also allow people with an authorized family and spousal-sponsorship petition to temporarily live with their family in the U.S. while they wait on permits to become available. It will additionally support families by including permanent partnerships, eliminate discrimination regarding LGBTQ+ families as well as provide protection for veterans who fought alongside the U.S. in World War II.

Likewise, it will execute the No Ban Act, which restricts a president’s authority to suspend or limit immigrants’ access to the U.S. and boost the number of Diversity Visas from 55,000 to 80,000. It will also require the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security to develop a commission for including these organizations:

  • Civil rights
  • Employer
  • Labor

This is expected to enhance the work authorization procedure to at least smoothen out the process. If you are unsure how this may affect you or your family, contact our Atlanta immigration law firm for more information.

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Biden Green Card Modifications

Under the new proposition, undocumennted individuals without legal status living in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2021, would be eligible for a temporary Biden Green Card for five years. If they fulfill requirements like passing background checks and paying taxes, they will be issued Green Cards and can start the three-year process of requesting citizenship.

After three years, all green card holders who were physically present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021, and who have demonstrated knowledge of English and U.S. civics can apply to become citizens.

Those who have already received a temporary legal immigration status through programs such as DACA and some farmworkers could immediately apply for permanent status.

A consultation with a local attorney at our immigration office in Georgia can help you understand and navigate the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen.


Illegal Immigrants Pathway to Citizenship

For some undocumented immigrants, obtaining U.S. citizenship will be a quicker procedure. For example, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) receivers, otherwise known as “Dreamers,” agricultural laborers, and those in the temporary legal status program might be approved for permits instantly if they are working, remain in school, pay taxes, or satisfy other requirements.

Contact your lawyer to determine whether these stipulations pertain to your situation.


Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining Citizenship


  1. Determine Eligibility: Verify if you meet the basic eligibility requirements, including age, residency, and moral character. Most applicants need to be at least 18 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least five years.
  2. Complete Form N-400: Fill out the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). This can be done online or via paper submission. Ensure you pay the necessary fees, which are typically around $725, including the biometric fee.
  3. Biometrics Appointment: Attend a biometrics appointment where your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken for a background check.
  4. Interview and Test: Participate in an interview with a USCIS officer. During this interview, you will take the English and civics tests, unless you qualify for an exemption. The civics test includes questions about U.S. history and government.
  5. Receive a Decision: After the interview, USCIS will issue a decision. If approved, you will receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.
  6. Oath of Allegiance: Attend the naturalization ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance. Once you take the oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization, officially becoming a U.S. citizen.

Stay Updated on the Progress of Biden’s Immigration Plan

If you are one of the undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S., you must stay updated on Biden’s immigration plan’s progress.

Of course, there are objections regarding this bill. Among other demands, these objections include that the legislation has to provide citizenship for undocumented individuals in the U.S. without exception, prioritize reunification with loved ones and family members, and ensure that legislation creating a pathway to citizenship does not increase immigration enforcement.

The citizens and representatives who oppose the bill should take time to realize that it is not as extensive as the major immigration revisions proposed during the Obama administration. It does not include a robust border security aspect but requests suggestions for new innovative techniques. It also does not introduce any new visa programs.

If you or a family member has been apprehended and confined in a Georgia immigration detention center, you should consult a local attorney. Jameel Manji of Manji Law, P.C. will have the latest updates on Biden’s Pathway to Citizenship and how it might affect your case.

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