When Immigration Matters

Biden's Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Aug 06, 2021 @ 2:44 PM

On February 18, 2021, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Representative Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) unveiled President Biden’s pathway to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Referred to as the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, Biden’s plan comprises of an eight-year process during which immigrants live and work in the U.S. After passing background checks and paying taxes, participants of the program are permitted a five-year stay in the United States. Then, upon completing this period, immigrants are able to apply for a green card, granting them permanent citizenship. Lastly, after three additional years, participants of this path have the opportunity to become full citizens.   

While there have been many efforts made to reach bipartisan support regarding immigration reform, Biden’s eight-year path to citizenship seems to only be backed by his Democratic supporters. His plan focuses on making it far easier to enter the U.S. legally by rehabilitating legal points of entry rather than funding border enforcement like his predecessor, which has not pleased Senate Republicans. In fact, after being introduced in February, the bill still remains stalled on the Senate floor, and it is becoming seemingly more unlikely that its status will progress. Hope dwindles as Biden is still short the ten additional votes needed to overcome the filibuster, despite support from all fifty Democrat-controlled seats.  

In the meantime, Senate Democrats and other major players in immigration policymaking recently met with President Biden to discuss the inclusion of immigration reform in his $3.5 trillion federal budget package. Policy change in this form is ideal, as budget bills only require a simple majority, thus enabling Democratic lawmakers to completely bypass Republican opposition. Biden readily reaffirmed his support for immigration reform, assuring the group of Senate Democrats that he would work with them in order to see their long-sought immigration policies signed into law.   

Additionally, the pressure on the Biden administration to achieve success regarding immigration policy reform has been further fueled by a recent Texas ruling that outlawed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, one of the few remnants of immigration policy from Biden’s vice presidency during the Obama era. However, with the inclusion of immigration policy in his Reconciliation federal budget package, Biden and many Democratic lawmakers are working to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, undocumented essential workers, and those with Temporary Protected Status. Although Biden has yet to disclose the specific details of each pathway as they are spelled out in the budget package, it is his intention, that with full support from Congress Democrats, the 11 million undocumented immigrants will come out of the shadows, stop living in fear of deportation and separation from their families and be granted a path to full citizenship in the near future.   

We would like to thank our Summer Intern Hallie Sternblitz for doing the research and writing this Blog Post. 

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The History of DACA

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Jun 06, 2018 @ 11:15 PM

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allows some individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the United States.  It is important to note that DACA provides temporary residency, it does not provide a path to citizenship for its recipients.  According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may request DACA if you:

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DACA & Other Immigration Topics Discussed at the UT Southwestern Diversity Lunch & Learn

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 @ 10:48 AM

Karen-Lee Pollak was the guest speaker for the UT Southwestern Diversity Lunch and Learn, hosted by the Office Student Diversity and Inclusion. Ms. Pollak educated students on
immigration laws, policies and guidelines. Her presentation included recent controversial changes in the law (especially pertaining to DACA) and what those changes mean to those serving patients in the medical field.  We thank UT Southwestern for the invitation to speak on this topic and the students for actively engaging in a lively discussion.

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Karen-Lee Pollak Quoted in Law360 Article About DACA

Posted by Michael Pollak on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 5:08 PM

Immigration Attorney Karen-Lee Pollak was quoted in the Law360 Article, "What Attys Should Tell DACA Clients as Uneasiness Lingers".

The article provides recommendations from some of the nation's top immigration lawyers for DACA "Dream Act" clients seeking to navigate the turbulent immigration environment created by the Trump administration regarding Dreamers.  Pollak is quoted regarding options beyond DACA:

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Immigration Reform: Living Undocumented in the USA

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 @ 2:11 PM

Ellen H. Badger writes: "Living Undocumented explores the lives of diverse undocumented immigrant youth to illustrate the realities, challenges and opportunities they face through high school, college, and beyond. It is directed by Tatyana Kleyn (City College of New YorkSchool of Education) and produced by Ben Donnellon.  It features 6 DREAMers, who portray the realities of our nation’s immigration system and its impact on undocumented youth.  The documentary is intended for all audiences, but with the accompanying lesson plan and resource guide for students and educators, it is especially useful in high school classes.  The director, who is a professor at CCNY in New York City, has given full permission for its distribution.  She has created a website at this link: http://www.livingundocumented.com/  The film can be accessed at the web site.  The direct link to the film, which is YouTube, is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjBkrqJ9BEc."

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Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Immigration Reform Bill

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 12:02 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up weeks of work on immigration reform by passing S. 744 the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5 last night. At the end of the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy said, "The dysfunction in our current immigration system affects all of us and it is long past time for reform. I hope that our history, our values, and our decency can inspire us finally to take action," as he successfully concluded an unprecedented effort to open the immigration reform process to the public by making all amendments available online.

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Feb 13 2013 Live Updates on Senate's hearing on immigration Reform

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 @ 12:07 PM

Courtesy of Ammerican Immigration Lawyers Association (Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13020747 (posted Feb. 13, 2013))

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First Round of Deferred Action Applications Approved

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 @ 10:18 AM
The Obama administration has approved the first wave of applications from young undocumented immigrants hoping to avoid deportation and get a work permit.

The Homeland Security Department is notifying a small group of people this week that they have been approved to stay in the country for two years as part of President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The first approvals come just three weeks after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started accepting applications for the program that Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano first announced June 15.

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Why Deferred Action Beneficiaries Should Be Granted Driver's Licenses

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 2:00 PM

Great Article from our friends at Immigration Impact written by Michele Waselin.  http://immigrationimpact.com/2012/08/27/why-states-should-grant-daca-beneficiaries-drivers-licenses/

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