Congress is working on sweeping changes to our immigration system that will reduce large numbers of immigrants who receive their lawful status through Legal Permanent Residents or United State Citizens. The bill, Reforming American Immigration For A Strong Economy, introduced by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Peru, proposes a merit-based immigration system, favoring employment, skills, education and English speaking ability. Currently, most of the one million immigrant visas per year are obtained through family relationships. U.S. citizens can petition for spouses, minor children, stepchildren, parents, single or married adult children, and brothers and sisters. Some of these visa categories have annual numerical limitations; others, such as spouses, minor children and parents are unlimited. Legal Permanent Residents can petition for spouses, minor children and unmarried adult children, with numerical limitations in all visa categories. The proposed legislation will still allow the spouses and minor children of American Citizens and Permanent Residents, but will eliminate visas for extenuated relatives such as brothers and sisters and adult children. The proposed bill also eliminates the diversity lottery and cuts the number of refugees that are offered permanent residence. The number of Employment based green cards, however, will increase by reallocating 140,000 of the eliminated visas.
Said President Trump “This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy.” The bill was praised by anti-immigration organizations; however, this legislation would need Democrat support to be successful, which is unlikely. Stay tuned to this blog for updates.