Friday, January 22, 2021

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: Help for Asylum Seekers, U Visas, Military Aides

Yesterday, I noted that the text of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 (the Biden-approved comprehensive immigration bill) isn't available. It still isn't. Reuters reports that it's expected to be hundreds of pages long. All the more reason to make the text publicly available sooner rather than later.

Anyhoo, in the absence of the actual text, we can read the administration's summary of the proposal. Here's one paragraph of particular interest:

Support asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations. The bill eliminates the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims and provides funding to reduce asylum application backlogs. It also increases protections for U visa, T visa, and VAWA applicants, including by raising the cap on U visas from 10,000 to 30,000. The bill also expands protections for foreign nationals assisting U.S. troops.

There's a lot to unpack there.

First: eliminating one-year deadline for filing asylum claims. You can read Lindsay Harris' article The One-Year Bar to Asylum in the Age of the Immigration Court Backlog to learn more about why this change will be important.

Second: increasing "protections for U visa, T visa, and VAWA applicants." Hm. That's a bit vague. More details will be needed.

Third: raising the cap on U visas for 10,000 to 30,000. You can read Mariela Olivares' article Battered by Law: The Political Subordination of Immigrant Women to learn more about why this change will be important (quick take: the 10,000 figure has been "insufficient to meet the need").

Fourth: expanding protections for foreign nationals assisting U.S. troops. This, too, is a bit vague. But let me send you to this John Oliver segment that I use in class to discuss our deplorable treatment of military translators. Certainly there's lots we can do to help.

-KitJ

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2021/01/the-us-citizenship-act-of-2021-help-for-asylum-seekers-u-visas-military-aides.html

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