Optimistic News for New Americans

In the past few months there have been a handful of victories for immigrant rights advocates in the United States. Rescinding the changes to the complex and difficult 2020 version of the civics test for naturalization, the inclusion of certain immigrants for stimulus payments in the American Rescue Act of 2021, and temporary protected status for people from Burma, Venezuela, and Syria are just a few of these victories. Even new legislation which has not yet passed has positive changes for immigrants such as New York Senate bill 1034A which protects immigrants in the same way as any other employee when it comes to safe working environments. At the federal level is The Citizenship Act of 2021 which seeks to end the use of the term “Alien” and replace it with the term noncitizen. If passed, The Citizenship Act of 2021 will also abolish the need to complete a civics examination for naturalization for any individual who graduated from a US high school. The proposed New York fiscal year 2022 budget is also another positive sign as it includes funding for unemployment style benefits for immigrants and temporary health coverage for immigrants who did not qualify for other programs during the pandemic.

In general, it seems that the attitudes of many institutions are moving towards making life better for immigrants and making the path to citizenship fair and straightforward. While there are still challenges ahead, it appears that the tide is moving in the right direction and we can expect more good news for new Americans in the future.

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