Democrats in US Congress plan to pass this $1.75 trillion economic bill using a process called budget reconciliation. The process will allow the bill to pass with only a simple majority in the US Senate. This bill will introduce new spending on fighting climate change, childcare and universal prekindergarten, as well as Medicare expansion and extended child credit. It is planned for the bill to introduce changes to the immigration system, but it is not clear if these provisions will remain in the final bill due to the complex political situation at the moment.
One of the major issues on immigration that the bill aims to address is the delay in receiving permanent residency (green card) for employment-based immigrants from countries with large population such as China and India. Current estimates show that there are more than $1.2 million immigrants who have approved immigration petitions but have been waiting for years for green cards to become available to them. Most of those immigrants are Indians working in the tech sector. The long wait has brought a lot of uncertainty to those immigrants and their families, while also limiting their ability to change employment due to risks and difficulties associated with change of employment during the wait for green card.
Currently, under section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the US government has allocated 266,000 family-based green cards per year and the employment-based green cards are set at 140,000. The per country limit is set to 15,820 per country for the family-based green cards and 9,800 for the employment-based green cards, resulting in wait times of 10 plus years for some employment-based immigrants from India.
The $1.75 trillion economic bill has a proposed provision to recapture all unused green cards between fiscal years 1992 and 2021, while nullifying the per-country cap restriction and the preference allotment within each immigration category. This is especially important for employment-based immigrants with approved petitions who have to wait decades under the current legislation.
The proposed provision also revives the green cards of aliens who won the visa lottery in fiscal years 2017-2021, but who failed to obtain the visa and be admitted to the United States before the end of the fiscal year as required by law. This will include immigrants who have not been able to obtain their immigrant visas due to COVID-19 restrictions and closures as well as due to travel bans.
Would the immigration provisions alleviate the suffering of employment-based immigrants from India and give the US diversity visa lottery winners a second chance is yet to be seen, as the Senate will have to review the bill to ensure all the elements meet the rules for reconciliation, the budget legislative process Democrats are using to pass the bill by a simple majority in the Senate.
Malescu Law P.A. – Immigration Lawyers