February 18, 2021
Contact: Nikki Metzgar,

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which President Biden sent to Congress on his first day in office. The bill would create a path to citizenship for approximately 11 million undocumented people, including 1.7 million Asian Americans, and make some much-needed fixes to the family immigration system.

The bill continues to exclude immigrants from access to health care and other vital services while on their path to citizenship. Right now, immigrants must wait five years from when they obtain legal permanent resident (LPR) status to when they can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). By creating an additional five year waiting period between the time a person becomes documented and granted LPR status without addressing the existing five year waiting period, this legislation essentially forces immigrants to wait 10 years before they can get affordable health care. 

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement:

“This bill will have a significant impact on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community by creating a pathway to citizenship and strengthening the family-based immigration system through which many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have immigrated to this country. Most undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for longer than a decade, and many live in mixed-status families. The U.S. Citizenship Act is an important first step in correcting the damage a broken immigration system has caused to multiple generations.

At the same time, immigrants have an urgent need for health care access that this bill fails to address. The pandemic has made it amply clear that health care is essential for everyone, and especially for immigrants who have been disproportionately harmed by its effects. By doubling down on the existing barriers to health care, this legislation forces immigrants struggling to make ends meet to wait 10 years before receiving meaningful health care access. No health condition can or should wait 10 years before being treated. Congress and this administration should not deny people vital care because of their immigration status. Providing a path to citizenship is just the beginning. Congress must ensure that immigrants have access to the crucial and comprehensive health care that is central to their agency and their lives, their families, and their communities.”


The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.