Chances for Biden Immigration reform bill – Explained // Filibuster

President Biden announced the highlights to reform the U.S. immigration system. The bill will need to be introduced into Congress where it must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate in order to become law.

The bill will face significant debate and amendments. Let’s find out its chances to become law.

Democrats still hold a majority in the House and in the Senate exactly at 50:50 with the republicans and the tiebreaker vote comes from Vice President Kamala Harris, so some of the immigration bills may turn into a law before November 2022. As 34 Senate seats and all House seats are up for election.

Republicans may not make it easy to go thru as the congressmen have strong opinions on some/many of the bills. Of course, Some bills may go thru with negotiation. On the other hand, Democrats are also trying to remove the filibuster rule as republicans may want to use this a weapon to block any bill.

What is filibuster rule? The senators were allowed to extend debate for hours, for days, forever. As a result, they were able to kill legislation without ever having to vote on it.  The House and Senate have always had very different procedures and very different voting procedures because the House is so much larger. Though Filibusters are rare, but it is a powerful weapon.

Eventually, as part of a reform in the 1970s, reduced the number of votes that it took to shut down the filibuster and proceed to a vote to just three-fifths of the Senate, or 60 votes. That made the filibuster seem more controlled.

Now, Democrats trying to remove this filibuster rule which would mean that instead of 60 votes any bill would only require 51 votes. So the majority of the bills proposed by Democrats will turn into a law.

filibuster

Here are the highlights on the proposed bills for Skilled Immigrants:

  • Clear Employment-based immigrant visa backlogs
  • Recapture unused visas
  • Reduce lengthy permanent residence wait times
  • Eliminate per-country immigrant visa caps.
    • Also, anticipated to exempt spouses and children of green-card holders from the annual green card quota.
  • EAD for H1B Dependents.
  • The proposed bill will allow to increase the number of work visas available. This could be anywhere in H1, L1, E3, TN and so however, it’s not clear where these numbers are going to be increased.
  • The bill would also create a pilot program that would stimulate regional economic development, give DHS the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, and incentivize higher wages for nonimmigrant, high-skilled visas.
  • Provisions to make US Universities graduates(F1 Visa) with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the country.

There are no clear specifics laid out, those will be worked out by the Congress.

Here are the highlights on the other immigration bills:

Trump Administration, which has taken steps to end DACA and limit the use of TPS but the Biden legislation is expected to provide a path for permanent residence for those were physically present in the United States before January 1, 2021.

  • Open a Pathway to Citizenship that poised to give amnesty to about 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.
  • Certain Immigrants who were deported under the Trump administration to come back into the country to reunite with their family.
  • Reduce the wait time for the families outside of US. So this will allow families to enter the country and wait while their Green Card has been processed.
  • Tackle flow of migrants from the southern border by addressing the root cause of these migrants. So the administration is planning to fund these countries so that these immigrants have a better life in their own country.
  • Dreamers who are the temporary protected status and the DACA recipients, will be able to apply for green card and after three years will be able to apply for citizenship.
  • Clear the backlog of Family based migration by reusing the unused visas & reduce the processing time.
  • Remove the three-year and 10-year entry bar for people who have overstayed or who are out of status during the stay in the united states.
  • The annual number of green cards available under the Diversity Lottery Visa Program would increase from 55,000 to 80,000.
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