Last week, the House of Representatives approved the Build Back Better Act. Still pending approval in the Senate, it promises important changes to the US immigration system.
The House of Representatives passed President Biden’s Build Back Better Act on Friday morning, a comprehensive package of Democratic social spending priorities that includes free preschool, initiatives to combat climate change, affordable housing programs, and immigration system reforms.
The legislation passed with a vote of 220-213 that cleared a major stumbling block to a plan that is the cornerstone of Democrat’s broad national agenda to expand the country’s social safety net, tackle climate change, and help Americans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main goals of Build Back Better Act: a quick review
- Universal preschool to cover more than 6 million three- and four-year-olds
- An expansion of Medicare coverage to cover hearing health issues.
- Various initiatives aimed at reducing the cost of prescription drugs, including insulin.
- Healthcare subsidies for low-income Americans.
- Initiatives to combat climate change, including electrification of the US Postal Service fleet.
- Four weeks of paid family and medical leave.
- An extension of the Child Tax Credit through 2022 to $ 300 per month for each child under age 6 and $ 250 per month for each child ages 6 to 17.
- Creation of a Civilian Climate Corps to combat the effects of global warming.
- Allocate billions to help IRS agents crack down on tax evaders.
- Expanded help for Historically African American Colleges and Universities.
- Makes 9 million more children eligible for free school meals.
Build Back Better Act changes related to Immigration Reform
Work Visas and Permits: Work permits for nearly 7 million people who have lived in the country since at least January 1, 2011. Of those 7 million people, it is estimated that 1.5 million will be eligible to obtain green cards through American family members.
Green Card Recovery: If the bill is approved as it is currently designed, Build Back Better Act could help recover more than two million green cards previously authorized by Congress that have not been used since 1992.
Employment-Based Green Card Acceleration: Some employment-based green card applicants who have been waiting for at least two years will be able to pay a $5,000 supplemental fee to remove country and annual limitations and obtain permanent residency. In some cases, the benefit will be also extended to family members for $2,500.
Child Tax Credit: Under the Trump administration, approximately one million children whose parents are undocumented were unable to receive financial assistance related to COVID-19. This new bill proposes to reverse this restriction.
Will the Build Back Better Act pass the Senate?
The roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better Act has yet to get Senate approval, which is expected to occur during December. Although it only has a half-sanction, Biden called the House vote “another big step forward in executing my economic plan to create jobs, reduce costs, make our country more competitive and give workers and the middle class an opportunity to fight.”
However, it is not yet clear whether all provisions currently present in the Build Back Better Act will be included in the final Senate bill. Some changes may be needed in order to get the approval of moderate senators, or might be required by the Office of the Parlamentarian.
If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-0800!