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Build Back Better Act Could Realize Immigration Reform

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Build Back Better Act Could Realize Immigration Reform

As congress wraps up the 2021 legislative session, the President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, and its intricate adjustments to U.S. immigration policy, could become reality.

Since its inception, the Build Back Better Act has been hailed by Biden’s administration and the Democratic caucus as a potential means of immigration reform. Inherent in its design are pathways to permanent residence for individuals including Dreamers, temporary protected status (TPS) recipients and essential workers — a reflection of the president’s promise of reform.

A memo from the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic staff outlines the act’s impacts on immigration. Here are some key elements.


  • Section 60001 of the Build Back Better Act advances the registry date to January 1, 2010. It would therefore allow individuals who have continuously resided in the United States since before that date to apply for LPR status, if they pay a $1,500 fee and meet other legal requirements.

Bars to Eligibility for Registry

  • Applicants for registry must show that they are not inadmissible under criminal or national security grounds, that they are not ineligible for U.S. citizenship, and that they possess good moral character (GMC).

  • An individual is permanently barred from establishing GMC (and is thus permanently barred from registry) if they have been convicted of an aggravated felony—a term broadly defined in the INA to include murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, robbery, trafficking, crimes of violence, fraud, racketeering, and more.

  • A person who is conditionally barred from establishing good moral character based on less serious past conduct may be able to cure the problem over time by showing evidence of rehabilitation and other positive factors. This provision “reflects our inherent belief in second chances,” the memo said.

Enhancements to Green Card Processing 

  • Sec. 60003 of the bill allows an individual who is in the United States and eligible for adjustment to LPR status but for the lack of an available visa number to apply for adjustment, upon paying a fee. This will allow individuals to receive work authorization while they wait for a visa number to become available and will prevent dependent children from aging out of eligibility for LPR status.

  • It also allows immigrants who are in the United States to receive an exemption from the numerical limits on immigrant visas and adjust their status to LPR if their immigrant visa petition has been approved for 2 years and they pay a supplemental fee.

The memo also makes a point of the economic benefits proponents of the bill claim would come with its reforms to immigration.

“Immigrants are innovators, job creators, and consumers with enormous spending power that drives our economy and creates employment opportunities for all Americans,” the statement said.

If you or someone you know has questions about their case or the ways this bill might impact it, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Ibrahim Law Offices.

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