by Julia Brown
The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) is Maine’s only statewide immigration legal services organization. Check out our website for more information: https://www.ilapmaine.org
Biden Administration Reverts Back to 2008 Citizenship Test
In November of last year, the Trump administration announced a new citizenship test that was longer, more complex, and politically biased. These changes were designed to deter immigrants from becoming citizens.
The Biden administration has reversed the 2020 changes to the test. US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that in accordance with President Biden’s January 20, 2021, executive order on restoring faith in our immigration systems, the agency examined the 2020 test and determined that it “may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process.”
So, what do citizenship applicants need to know? If you filed your application on or after 12/1/2020 and before 3/1/2021 and are scheduled for your appointment before 4/19/2021, you can choose between the 2008 and 2020 tests. All others will be required to take the 2008 civics test. Find out more at www.uscis.gov.
Trump’s Public Charge Rule Is Gone!
The Biden administration has ended the Trump public charge policy and it is no longer in effect! It is SAFE for immigrants and their families to use health, nutrition, and housing programs they qualify for. It is safe and smart to see the doctor if you need care, or if you are worried that you may be sick. Find out more at https://www.ilapmaine.org/public-charge.
Temporary Protected Status for Venezuela and Burma (Myanmar)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Venezuelan and Burmese nationals present in the United States would be eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is a status given to eligible individuals from certain designated countries. These countries are usually affected by civil unrest or a natural disaster. TPS allows individuals to live and work in the United States for a set period. The government has more information here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.
Immigration Bills in Congress
These bills are proposed legislation and are NOT currently law. Find out more and check for updates and calls to action here: https://www.ilapmaine.org/legislative-priorities.
American Dream and Promise Act
The proposed legislation would establish a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients. It passed in the House of Representatives on March 18 and will now move on to the Senate!
Farm Workforce Modernization Act
The proposed legislation would create a pathway to permanent residence for farmworkers, and would change the existing H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program. It passed in the House of Representatives on March 18 and will now move on to the Senate!
The US Citizenship Act of 2021
The comprehensive immigration bill promised by President Biden, The US Citizenship Act of 2021, is a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would be a significant first step toward rebuilding our immigration system. We thank immigrant youth activists and immigrant-led organizations for their persevering work to make immigration reform a top priority of the Biden administration. The bill would create a new pathway to citizenship, restore family reunification, help to rebuild asylum and protect immigrant survivors of domestic violence, trafficking and other crimes, take steps to decriminalize immigration, and address many other vital issues.
NO BAN Act
The proposed legislation would limit a future president’s authority to issue bans like the Muslim, African, and refugee bans.
Julia Brown is ILAP’s Advocacy and Outreach Director. She works to improve laws and policies impacting Maine’s immigrant communities and coordinates communications and outreach on immigration laws and legal rights.