The Biden administration has sent a new immigration bill to Congress to be reviewed. A formal announcement of this was made by the White House just days ago. The new bill, amongst other things, seeks to “modernize the immigration system”. It has been called one of the most ambitious bills in 30 years by some members of Congress. Border enforcement agents have had largely negative opinions about the bill so far.
While there are many aspects to this new prospective immigration overhaul, this brief will pertain to any green card, and/or green card application changes that have been attached to the bill:
1. Employment-based green card country caps would be eliminated. This would impact the priority action dates as per the employment categories for the State Department and consular processing.
2. In the family based green card category, spouses and children of green-card holders would be exempt from the annual green card quota.
3. Children of H1-B visa holders (also known as H-4 dependents) who are on the green card track would be protected from the aging out requirement. This would mean the child who is filing their I-485 application and is in the middle of processing would not have to worry about aging out (turning 21 years or older) before they were to be approved by the USCIS. Previously, your CSPA age was calculated from the time you initially filed your I-130 petition to the time your green card was approved.
4. Green cards for workers in low wage industries. Per this request, nothing has been stated regarding how many green cards and/or visas would be allocated to this category, or what sectors such workers would be placed in.
One of the main objectives of this bill, if nothing else, is to free up green card queues, which have gotten consistently longer and longer each year. Currently, for some family-based and employment-based green card paths, there is a five year waiting period before an applicant even has a visa number available to be able to submit their application.
In terms of consular processing, and due to Covid-19, wait times are still expected to be long due to only being able to meet with a few people at consular offices or U.S. embassies around the world.