On February 18, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was formally introduced in both houses of Congress. If passed, the bill would bring citizenship to millions of foreign nationals and drastically reform the immigration system. In addition to providing a roadmap to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and Temporary Protect Status (TPS) recipients, the bill also would drastically expand legal immigration, and would eliminate the term “alien” – which many view as offensive – from the Immigration and Nationality Act. Legislative immigration reform of this magnitude has not passed since 1990, and this bill is particularly ambitious and far more progressive than the failed immigration legislation proposed by the Obama Administration. As of late February, it is unclear if the even the most moderate Democrats in the Senate would support the proposed legislation. Some conservative Republicans have indicated they would be open to a smaller immigration bill offering a pathway to citizenship exclusively for Dreamers, in exchange for more enforcement measures.
A separate bipartisan Dream Act of 2021 was also introduced in Congress, and would provide young people who were brought to this country as children and grew up in the United States the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent resident status and eventually citizenship, if they meet certain requirements.