Immigration reform – Employment-Based

Updated September 23, 2021, Senate Democrats have prepared an alternative proposal for parliamentarian consideration, which may or may not be referred to as immigration reform. Senators Padilla and Menendez are favoring updating the immigration registry date as ‘Plan B’ pitch to parliamentarian.

  • According to current immigration Registry rules, individuals who have been present in the United States since January 1, 1972, may be eligible for a Green Card. The new proposal is to update the date; however, the proposed date is unknown.

Updated September 19, 2021, The Senate refuses to include a path to green cards in the reconciliation bill.The Senate parliamentarian disagrees with the Democrats, claiming that the proposal’s “policy changes far outweigh the budgetary impact”.

As previously stated, getting through senate is a difficult path to take, and it was once again unsuccessful.

Full ruling: “The reasons that people risk their lives to come to this country – to escape religious and political persecution, famine, war, unspeakable violence and lack of opportunity in their home countries –cannot be measured in federal dollars.”

Schumer Message: “We are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in budget reconciliation continues. Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and will be holding additional meetings with the Senate parliamentarian”

Updated September 13,2021, According to immigration attorney Greg Siskind, the House Judiciary Committee passed immigration language for the reconciliation bill by a vote of 25 to 19. Now it’s up to the Senate, which is the most difficult path to take and where most EB reforms fail.

Updated September 10,2021, The text of the House Judiciary bill relating to the Path to Citizenship is now available which includes key reforms for employment-based Visas. This is not the final version of the House Bill; it must go through Judiciary committees, particularly the Senate version, and then be reconciled. Nothing is final until the final vote and signature of the President.

High Level provisions for employment-based category:

  • In addition to any administrative processing fee, pay a supplemental fee of $1,500 to complete background and medical checks.
  • Legal Dreamers – H4/L2 Kids – To be eligible, they must have arrived in the United States before the age of 18, have lived here continuously since then, and be physically present on January 1, 2021.
    • In addition, to qualify under the Dreamer portion, a person must either:
      • Serve honorably in the Uniformed Services;
      • Graduate from college or a postsecondary vocational school;
      • Show 3 years of consistent earned income; or
      • Be enrolled in a program and in a training program.
  • Essential Workers – May file for adjustment of status without relying on an employer-sponsored labor certification or green card.
    • Has been continuously physically present in the US since 1/1/2021.
    • Demonstrated a consistent record of earned income in the US in an occupation listed in DHS Advisory Memorandum on Ensuring Ability to Work During the COVID from 1/31/2020 to 8/24/2021.
  • Visa recapture – Recapture visas every unused EB visa from 1992 to 2021, and then establish that any unused EB visa is added to the visa pool the following year.
  • If the alien’s priority date is more than two years before the date of application, he or she may request a waiver of the numerical limitations by paying a $5,000 supplemental fee.
  • Pay a $1500 supplement fee plus $250 for each dependent to file an adjustment of status (I-485) even if your priority date is not current in the bulletin to receive EAP and AP benefits.
  • Reduce case processing backlogs.
  • USCIS shall be appropriated $2.8 billion to increase their capacity to handle the new programs.
  • Sections 60001, 60002, 60003, and 60004 of the house version bill mention EB reform provisions.
  • These new legalization provisions would go into effect six months after passage or on May 1, 2022, whichever comes first.
  • There are also provisions for Family Based immigrants, Dreamers, TPS, Invested visa, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
  • Here is the summary captured from Attorney Greg Siskind.

Updated August 24, 2021, House Democrats on August 24th 2021 adopted a budget resolution & actual bill is being drafted. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Kathy Manning, and Deborah K. Ross wrote a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer requesting to address the employment-based green card backlog as part of budget reconciliation for the relief of approximately 1.2 million individuals languishing in the green card backlog.

Updated June 7, 2021, The bipartisan bill, known as the EAGLE (Equal Access to Greencards for Legal Employment) Act, was introduced by California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Republican Congressman John Curtis. #HR3648. More details here.

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