Last week, the White House announced sweeping immigration reform legislation - the U.S. Citizenship Act. One of the key provisions of the bill is a 8-year pathway to citizenship and a faster track to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. Click here to read the full text of the U.S. Citizenship Act
The bill also makes some long overdue updates to the language the U.S. Government uses when describing immigrants. CNN reports “Biden's proposed bill, if passed, also would remove the word "alien" from US immigration laws, replacing it with the term "noncitizen." The change, an administration official said, is "to better reflect the President's values on immigration."
The bill also aims to improve the legal process of immigration: “The bill provides funding for more immigration judges and puts an emphasis on access to counsel. It authorizes funding for counsel for children and vulnerable individuals, and eliminates the one-year limit for filing an asylum case.”
Unions and worker advocates nationwide met the news with excitement. Oregon AFL-CIO President Graham Trainor responded to the announcement of the bill:
“Oregon’s unions are pleased to see legislation presented in Congress that moves our country forward on immigration policy and truly builds a pathway to citizenship. For too long, our broken immigration system has failed too many people. A swift path to citizenship alongside provisions that advocates have demanded for decades is a step in the right direction. Our nation’s unjust immigration system has forced millions to work and live in a state of fear. Workers have been exploited with impunity as a result. For our country to truly build itself back better, we need meaningful changes to both immigration and labor laws and Oregon’s unions are committed to making those changes happen.”
To read National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s response to the U.S. Citizenship Act, please click here.