Washington, January 21
US President Joe Biden on the first day of his presidency sent a comprehensive immigration Bill to Congress. The Bill proposes a major overhaul in the immigration system, including granting legal status and a path to citizenship to tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants and other groups and reduce the time that family members must wait outside the US for the green card.
Called the US Citizenship Act of 2021, the legislation modernises the immigration system and proposes to eliminate the per country cap for the employment-based green card, a move that would benefit thousands of Indian IT professionals, whose current wait period for legal permanent residency runs into several decades.
“Today, President Biden sent an immigration Bill to Congress. The US Citizenship Act modernises our immigration system. It provides hard-working people who have enriched our communities and lived here for decades an opportunity to earn citizenship,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a news conference.
“The President’s priority reflected in the Bill are to responsibly manage the border, keep families together, grow our economy, address the root causes of migration from Central America and ensure that America can remain a refuge for those fleeing prosecution,” Psaki said.
The Bill would stimulate America’s economy while ensuring that every worker is protected. The Bill creates an earned path to citizenship for immigrant neighbours, colleagues, parishioners, community leaders, friends, and loved ones, including “Dreamers” and the essential workers who have risked their lives to serve and protect American communities, the White House said.
According to the White House, the Bill clears employment-based visa backlogs, recaptures unused visas, reduces lengthy wait times, and eliminates per-country visa caps.
It makes it easier for graduates of US universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) stay in the US, improves access to the green card for workers in lower-wage sectors, and eliminates other unnecessary hurdles for employment-based green card.
Biden also launched initiatives on Thursday to rein in the raging Covid-19 pandemic, tackling his top priority on his first full day in the White House as he tries to turn the page on Donald Trump’s tumultuous leadership.
His administration plans a coordinated federal coronavirus response aimed at restoring trust in the government and focused on boosting vaccines, increasing testing, reopening schools and addressing inequalities thrown up by the disease.
“We can and will beat Covid-19. America deserves a response to the pandemic that is driven by science, data, and public health… not politics,” the White House said in a statement outlining the administration’s National Strategy on for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Prepar edness. — Agencies
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