News & Resources

Press Release: IRAP Welcomes Biden Administration’s Immigration Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                   

February 18, 2021


Henrike Dessaules


(New York, NY) – Today, Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) announced the introduction of the Biden Administration’s “U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021,” a bill that, if passed, seeks to improve access to safety, resources, and citizenship for undocumented immigrants and displaced people. The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) welcomes this opening proposal as an important step to promote family unity, chart a path to citizenship for millions of people in the United States, and implement a number of important humanitarian policies that IRAP has championed. 

Among significant provisions, the proposed legislation would:

  • Create a pathway to citizenship for millions of people, including holders of Temporary Protected Status and DREAMers.
  • Include the NO BAN Act, which would prevent future Administrations from issuing executive orders like the Muslim ban that discriminate on the basis of religion or other protected categories.
  • Create a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for U.S. allies in Syria as an additional pathway to safety for many highly vulnerable Syrians who worked with U.S. personnel at great risk to them and their families. The bill also suggests a number of improvements to the SIV program as a whole, such as providing spouses and children of deceased applicants access to the program.
  • Expand refugee processing and access to asylum protection in the Western Hemisphere, including through a reinstated Central American Minors program, which the Trump Administration abruptly canceled in 2017. IRAP successfully litigated against the termination, ensuring that thousands of children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras would be able to reunite with family in the United States. 
  • Promote immigrant and refugee integration through workforce development, education, in-state tuition for refugees and asylees, and a study of licensing and credentialing barriers.

IRAP’s Policy Director, Sunil Varghese, said: “The U.S. Citizenship Act is a significant proposal that seeks to address many issues that have plagued the immigration system for decades and prevented forcibly displaced people from receiving protection, families from reuniting, and undocumented immigrants from finally becoming citizens. We encourage members of both parties to give this historic bill the full consideration it deserves.”

To view the press release, click here.