A new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last month would provide a more favorable route for millions of non-U.S. citizens to secure a green card.
Introduced by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Alex Padilla (D-CA), the legislation would update the Immigration Act of 1929. Under the bill’s guidelines, people who would qualify for lawful permanent resident status (LPR) must have lived in the U.S. for at least seven years and exemplify strong moral character.
Would benefit 8 million people
Known as the Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929, the bill was introduced on Sept. 28. If passed, an estimated 8 million people would benefit.
This group includes highly skilled workforce members who hold H-1B, long-term visa holders as well as dreamers – the young immigrants brought unlawfully to the U.S. by their parents — forcibly displaced citizens and essential workers.
Many people from within these groups have waited decades to gain a green card. The change would have a significant impact on non-U.S. citizens who have lived, worked and contributed to the U.S. economy for years.
Represents the first update in 36 years
The bill would update a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act known as the Registry. Section 249 provides the secretary of Homeland Security with the ability to register people for green cards if they had lived in the U.S. since a specific date and met additional requirements.
Congress initially codified Section 249 in 1929. The section subsequently changed four times, most recently in 1986. But the cutoff date for eligibility has not changed in decades.
The bill’s co-sponsors include Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM). Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).