Last week, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38) introduced President Biden’s immigration bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act. The proposal would offer a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, including more than 100,000 undocumented Southeast Asian immigrants, and Temporary Protected Status holders.
The bill also includes Rep. Judy Chu’s Reuniting Families Act to address the backlogs in granting family-based and employment-based visas. Furthermore, the bill adopts the narrow definition of conviction from the New Way Forward Act, eliminates several bars to relief from deportation, and provides more forms of discretionary relief for people who have been entangled with the criminal legal system.
However, while the US Citizenship Act includes some components that address the criminal legal and immigration systems, it disappointingly adds harmful and unnecessary new additional criminal grounds of inadmissibility. The bill would exclude many immigrants who possess a broad range of convictions from citizenship and leave these communities vulnerable to deportation.