Millions of immigrants, including Dreamers, H-1B and long-term visa holders could get a pathway to permanent residency if a new bill introduced in the US Senate is passed.
The bill was introduced by Senator Alex Padilla and co-sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ben Ray Lujan and Dick Durbin on Wednesday.
The Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929 would update the existing Registry statute so that an immigrant may qualify for lawful permanent resident status if they have lived in the US continuously for at least seven years before filing an application for lawful permanent resident status and are of good moral character, according to a press release from the US Senate.
“Our outdated immigration system is hurting countless people and holding back America’s economy. My bill would update the Registry cutoff date for the first time in more than 35 years so that more immigrants can apply for legal permanent residence,” said Padilla.
He added: “This could have a profound impact on millions of immigrants, some who have been living, working, and contributing to the United States for decades, by allowing them to live freely without the fear of an uncertain future.”
The statement said the legislation would offer a much-needed pathway to a green card for up to eight million people, including Dreamers, forcibly displaced citizens (TPS holders), children of long-term visa holders who face deportation, essential workers, and highly skilled members of the US workforce such as H-1B visa holders who have been waiting years for a green card to become available.
A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who serves as the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration.
“For decades, immigrants who contribute significantly to our communities and our economy have been relegated to a legal limbo,” said Lofgren.
She added: “Updating this historically-bipartisan provision to provide lawful permanent resident status to immigrants who have been a part of our communities for years will make our immigration system fairer and our country stronger.
The bill has to first be agreed upon and then passed by the Senate and House of Representatives before it can be signed into law by President Biden.