Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about the new Congressional reconciliation bill known as H.R. 5376 “the Build Back Better Act.” How might this piece of legislation impact you in your immigration journey? Want to know what you can expect in terms of potential upcoming changes in the law?
Keep on watching to find out more!
The Biden administration has released a new bill, the Build Back Better Act, that includes a new immigration framework that if passed would positively benefit employment-based green card applicants. The bill also sets aside $100 billion dollars for immigration purposes to reduce the immigrant visa backlogs and to recapture unused immigrant visas.
New Framework for Immigration Reform
Over the past few months, Congressional Democrats have been working on passing comprehensive immigration reform to modernize the current immigration system and open a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers,” and other groups of individuals including highly skilled immigrants. The Democrats have presented several immigration reform proposals to the Senate Parliamentarian to increase the chances of passing immigration reform without having to receive majority support from the Republican party. Passing reform through a reconciliation bill has been the most effective means of bringing about much needed changes because of opposition for reform in our current immigration climate.
The proposals in this new bill are interestingly much different from other proposals we have seen so far from Democrats. If passed, the bill would prioritize recapturing immigrant visas in family and employment-based categories for immigrant visa numbers that went unused between Fiscal year 1992 and fiscal year 2021. Such a provision would have the potential of adding more than 220,000 employment-based green cards to the current pool of immigrant visas currently available according to researchers. This would be a groundbreaking new policy because it would have the potential to drastically reduce the current visa backlogs, in both the family and employment-based categories. In some family-based categories, applicants must wait over 20 years for their priority date to become current and a visa to become available. Recapturing new visa numbers and putting them back into the system will be very advantageous for those waiting for a visa.
While the final outcome of this proposal is still uncertain, it is a good preview of what is to come and of its potential for approval in the House and the Senate.
According to recent statistics, there are currently 4 million family-based immigrant visa applicants stuck in the visa backlogs, compared with over 1 million employment-based immigrant visa applicants stuck in the employment visa backlogs. These are 5 million visa applicants whose applications have been pending for years and years. To make matters worse, section 202 of the Immigration and Nationality Act establishes an annual per-country limitation of 7% for employment-based visa immigrants. Applicants compete for visas primarily on a worldwide basis. The cap limitation is the reason it is taking a long time for visas to become available and for applications to be processed.
The Build Back Better Act contains proposals that would allow people to pay additional fees to bypass the immigrant visa backlogs.
Specifically, section 60003 of the reconciliation bill would exempt an alien (and the spouse and children of such alien) from the numerical limitations described in the employment-based immigration section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and allow the alien and any follow-to-join dependents to adjust their status to permanent residence provided such alien submits or has submitted an application for adjustment of status and . . . is the beneficiary of an approved petition . . . that bears a priority date that is more than 2 years before the date the alien requests a waiver of the numerical limitations; and pays a supplemental fee of $5,000.”
The bill would also amend the registry policy of the 1970’s to allow those who entered the United States before January 1, 2010, and who have remained continuously present in the United States since then to qualify for a green card.
The reconciliation bill also carves out provisions that would allow family-based immigrants inside the United States to gain permanent residence outside the numerical limits if their priority date is “more than 2 years before” and the individual pays a $2,500 supplement fee. EB-5 category (immigrant investor) applicants would need to pay a $50,000 supplement fee. The provisions to pay a supplemental fee to receive a green card outside the numerical limits would expire on September 30, 2031.
Our firm will closely monitor this legislation as it moves through Congress, and we will report on its progress right here on our blog and our YouTube channel. We are hopeful that new changes will be coming soon as Democrats work closely with the Biden administration to come up with a permanent solution to reform our current immigration system.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
- H.R. 5376 Build Back Better Act
- Biden Announces the Build Back Better Framework
- Chairman Nadler Statement on Immigration Provisions in the Build Back Better Framework
- Law Offices of Jacob Sapochnick YouTube Channel
- DOS U.S. Visa Updates
- November 2021 Visa Bulletin
- NVC Immigrant Visa Backlog Report
- List of Embassies and Consulates
- Youtube channel
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