The DC Update series is FileRight’s resource for the latest immigration news. This includes news on legislation and updates on actions by agencies like U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Don’t forget that we’re here to help with your immigration process. Read more about all of our application services.
Today’s updates will cover:
1. Possible Reform
2. Bills Likely to Become Law
3. Immigration Provisions in the COVID Relief Bill
4. Benefits vs Enforcement at Agencies like USCIS
Comprehensive Reform Is Coming to the Congressional Floor
Comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) is likely going to be on the floor in both the House and the Senate. CIR would legalize over 10 million immigrants and include a host of other benefits.
Democrats control both chambers of Congress. That means CIR will get a floor vote in both houses without any cooperation from Republicans. However, CIR will almost certainly face a filibuster from Republicans in the Senate. To overcome a Senate filibuster, 10 Republicans will need to support CIR. This most likely dooms the bill.
CIR Will Be Broken up into Different Bills
Because CIR will probably fail, Biden and the Democrats are prepared to break CIR into parts. That will let them bring popular legislation to the floor.
One of the clearest candidates for an early push is the DREAM Act. This will grant legalization and a path to citizenship for people whose parents brought them to America. There’s also AgJOBS, which legalizes farmworkers and eases the H-2A hiring process for them.
Both DREAM and AgJOBS have broad bipartisan support. People see DREAM as simple relief for innocent children. Republicans strongly support AgJOBS because many of them come from rural states with large farmlands. They both have more than enough Republican support to pass in the Senate.
That leads us to expect votes on DREAM and AgJOBS early this year.
There Will Be Immigration Provisions in the COVID Relief Bill
The top priority of the Biden administration right now is the massive COVID relief bill. Democrats need to pass this bill before unemployment benefits end on March 15. The tentative target for President Biden to sign the bill into law is March 8, which is only four weeks away.
To avoid a Republican filibuster, Democrats are using the budget reconciliation process. That process only requires a simple majority to get the COVID relief bill to pass in the Senate. The only immigration-related provision likely to be in the bill is for healthcare workers. It will expand immigration benefits for doctors and nurses.
Agencies Like USCIS Are Shifting from Enforcement to Benefits
Biden is clearly serious about delivering significant immigration benefits early. USCIS is changing its focus from enforcement to its proper function as an immigration benefits agency.
It appears that Biden has learned from the mistakes of the Obama administration. He’s prioritizing the immigration agenda and not continuing massive deportations throughout his term. Actions like that earned Obama the title “Deporter-in-Chief.”
FileRight Can Help with Upcoming Immigration Benefits
For the first time in many years, immigration benefits have a reasonable chance of becoming law. They’ll deliver much-needed relief to long-suffering immigrant communities across the country.
USCIS, ICE, and other agencies no longer have the Trump era’s “deport-’em-all” mentality. That means more immigrants will get favorable decisions when they apply for immigration benefits. 2021 is a year of hope for immigrants. We can help. Contact us to get started.