On April 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Request for Public Input seeking the public’s comments on potential barriers that nonimmigrants, including international students and scholars, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients face when applying for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) benefits and services. USCIS, a sub-agency within DHS, oversees all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing services. Comments are due on May 19, 2021, and can be submitted through the Federal Register. To note, the Federal Register’s date is incorrect; USCIS has clarified that the deadline is May 19, 2021.
The announcement follows President Biden’s February 2, 2021, Executive Order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, which directs responsible Federal agencies to identify strategies that promote inclusion and identify barriers that impede access to immigration benefits. CGS continues to advocate for updated guidance that allows maximum flexibility for international students and exchange visitors seeking to pursue higher education at U.S. institutions.
Legislative Action Prioritizes Investments in Science and Research
On April 21, Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, which would strengthen the U.S. innovation ecosystem by investing in the National Science Foundation and prioritizing diversity in the STEM fields and new technology. Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) reintroduced the companion legislation in the House. First introduced in the 116th Congress, the legislation invests in U.S. technology, development, and research and has won bipartisan support in both chambers and approval from the White House. In June 2020, CGS endorsed both the House and Senate versions and is currently evaluating the updated legislation.
Secretary Cardona Participates in DACA Roundtable
In the last months, the House of Representatives passed a number of bills that include actions to establish a pathway to citizenship for certain undocumented individuals. Most recently, the House passed the NO BAN Act (H.R. 1333), which would curb the Executive Branch’s power to implement immigration restrictions, such as whether to issue an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa on the basis of religion; it also includes a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. On April 20, the White House issued a notice of support for the legislation, including a call for action around the U.S. Citizenship Act, President Biden’s legislative proposal that would initiate sweeping immigration reform.