US Immigration Label

House Passes Immigration Bills To Grant Citizenship For Dreamers And Farmworkers

This week the House passed two proposals that would legalize the subsets of around 11 million immigrants who are living in the US without legal permission. The hope is to get the bill to President Biden’s desk as quickly as possible to give immigrants an easier chance at gaining citizenship and remaining in the US safely. 

All House Democrats and nine Republicans voted to approve the American Dream And Promise Act, which passed with a vote of 228 to 197. The proposal would “allow more than 2.3 million Dreamers, or unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as minora, as well as beneficiaries of certain temporary humanitarian programs, to gain permanent legal status and eventually, U.S. citizenship,” according to news sources. 

The House also passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act with a vote of 247 to 174. This act will grant legal status to the hundreds of thousands of farmworkers in the US who don’t have the proper paperwork but provide some of the most essential services and labor to the entire nation. Thirty Republicans voted in favor of the bill and one Democrat voted against it. 

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Biden has continuously claimed that he plans to legalize most of the country’s undocumented population which has been met with a lot of Republican push-back. The two bills on their own are Democrats best chance at advancing these bills and getting these citizens documented. Nancy Pelosi recently spoke on the two bills:

“It’s always been a pleasure for me to sing praises of our Dreamers. They make us proud, for us, this is a day not only passing legislation, but a cause for celebration.”

If signed into law the American Dream And Promise Act would make all DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants who were brought into the US before they were 18 eligible to apply for a 10-year period of conditional permanent residency. 

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Applicants would be eligible to apply for permanent residence if they earn a college degree, enroll in a bachelor’s program for two years, serve in the military for two years, or if they work in the US for a three-year period. 

More than 300,000 immigrants currently live in the US with Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, all of which could be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the bill if they meet all the requirements. 

“The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would allow immigrant farmworkers to apply for a temporary and renewable immigration status if they have worked at least 180 days in the U.S. during a two-year period. Eligible workers would be allowed to request green cards if they complete four or eight years of additional agricultural work, depending on whether they have performed such work for more than or less than 10 years,” according to CBS. 

The proposal would also make visa’s valid for three years. Congressional Democrats proposed to expand legal immigration and invest in Central American border controls as well. Dreamers, TPS holders and farmworkers could automatically be eligible for a green card under the proposal.

Where Can US Citizens Travel Without A Visa?

While international travel is likely the last thing on all of our minds thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, the rolling out of multiple vaccines and promise of new health and safety procedure enforcement from the president-elects administration gives us the freedom to start fantasizing about what we want to do once this pandemic is truly over. 

Before you take any international flight in a non-pandemic context, there are a few things that you’ll need to consider. One of the biggest is if you’ll need a visa to enter the country you want to go to. While current restrictions exist due to the pandemic, others have always existed when it comes to allowing international travelers in. 

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US citizens with passports typically don’t need a visa to enter most countries around the globe; it’s believed that American citizens have some of the world’s most powerful passports in terms of access. In fact, the Henley and Partners Passport Index ranked the US passport as seventh on its 2020 list of the world’s best passports, as it allows citizens visa-free access to 185 countries; this includes countries that require Electronic Travel Authorization or a visa upon arrival to the country. 

Americans with a passport can travel to a majority of countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and Central/South America. Countries like Russia, India, China, Vietnam, Turkey, and many others require American citizens to have at least an e-visa to visit, regardless of if they have a passport or not. 

Luckily, the Henley and Partners Passport Index provide an easy searching tool for Americans to see where they can travel throughout the world without needing a visa. Users can simply log in and select the country that their passport is from (in this case the US) and the Index will provide you with a list of countries that you are able to visit. 

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The US Department of State Travel also provides an easy-to-use tool on their site that allows users to simply search a country by name to see the visa requirements they would need to visit. Even countries that allow Americans to travel there without a visa have restrictions on the length of time one is allowed to stay.

You can use both of the websites above to receive information about specific countries and their restrictions on things like length of stay, visa requirements, and cost for those visa requirements. More times than not getting a visa to visit a foreign country can be a lengthy and expensive process, so individuals tend to do it months in advance of their trip. 

The future of these requirements will also likely depend on how every country recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently there are a multitude of countries that prohibit American tourists from visiting due to the severity of the pandemic in this country. Click here for a list of countries that are currently allowing American travelers to visit, and in the meantime start planning for a Covid-free future.