Here’s What the New House Bill Says About Immigration


The bill would grant legal status to certain undocumented immigrants

Sep 13, 2021


The Capitol building

Thousands of people who have been stuck in a green card backlog for years and those living in the United States without legal status could find relief with a new House bill.

The House Judiciary Committee released details of the bill on Friday, which, if passed, would allow certain undocumented immigrants to apply for permanent residence, and permit thousands of family- and employment-based green card applicants to immediately apply for a green card rather than wait until one becomes available.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in an opening statement that “the immigration provisions in this legislation serve as a vital investment in human infrastructure that reflects our commitment to a stronger U.S. economy and a vibrant future for all Americans. “

These provisions will be marked-up (amended and changed by committee members) on Monday, before they are incorporated into the Senate version.

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However, the Senate Parliamentarian has yet to announce whether she will allow Democrats to include immigration provisions in their $3.5 trillion spending plan.

Here are the details about the immigration reforms included in the House bill. Note these measures may change.

Legal status

Certain people without legal status can apply for a green card after paying a $1,500 fee and passing background and medical checks.

For Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to qualify, they must have:

  • Arrived in the United States before they were 18 and continuously lived in the country since then
  • Been continuously present in the United States since January 1, 2021

They also must either have:

  • Served honorably in the Uniformed Services
  • Graduated from or be enrolled in a college or a postsecondary vocational school
  • Earned a “consistent earned income in the United States” for the three years before applying

They do not need to currently be enrolled in the program to be eligible.

Those in the country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) qualify if they:

  • Have been in the United States for three or more years
  • Had TPS or qualified for TPS on January 1, 2017
  • “Have not engaged in conduct” that would make them ineligible for TPS

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients qualify if they:

  • Have been in the United States for three or more years
  • Were eligible for DED as of January 20, 2021
  • “Have not engaged in conduct” that would make them ineligible for DED

Essential workers would also be permitted to apply for permanent residence.

To qualify, they must:

  • Have been in the United States continuously since January 1, 2021
  • Show a consistent record of earned income

These new legalization provisions would not go into effect until 6 months after they are passed or on May 1, 2022, “whichever is earliest,” according to the legislation.

Family- and employment-based green cards

A family-based green card applicant whose priority date is more than 2 years old could apply to adjust their status by paying a $2,500 fee.

Employment-based green card applicants with a priority date that is more than 2 years old could also apply to adjust their status by paying a $5,000 fee.

As with the legalization provisions, these adjustment of status provisions would not go into effect until 6 months after they are passed or on May 1, 2022, whichever comes first.

“Although it’s not final, the seismic House Bill on immigration is a sign of hope for millions of families, after decades of waiting for meaningful change to our immigration system,” said Boundless CEO Xiao Wang. “This is our best and only shot at immigration reform since 1990, and its inclusion in the budget reconciliation process is a reflection of the positive economic impact of immigrants in America.”


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