Question: Has there been any movement on the Immigration Reform Issue?
Answer: Actually there has. A comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill has been submitted to Congress. There are lots of different provisions to this bill and it is not law, but it is a good start.
Question: What are some of the more pertinent provisions?
Answer: Here is a summary of a few: Recapture of Immigrant Visas Lost to Bureaucratic Delay: The bill recaptures unused employment-based visas and family-sponsored visas and rolls over future unused visas to the next fiscal year. The bill provides new exemptions for certain aliens from cap on immigrant visas. Reclassification of Spouses and Minor Children of Lawful Permanent Residents as Immediate Relatives: The bill reclassifies spouses and children of lawful permanent residents as “immediate relatives” to promote the efficient reunification of families. Spouses and children of immediate relatives who are eligible to “accompany” or “follow to join” the primary applicant may use the same visa petition. Country Limits: Revises per country immigration limits for family-based immigration from 7 to 15 percent of total admissions and eliminates the employment-based caps. 3-Year Unlawful Presence Bar: The bill creates one 3-year bar of inadmissibility for noncitizens that are unlawfully present for more than one year and exempts additional populations. Relief for Orphans, Widows and Widowers: The bill extends the relief given to orphans, widows and widowers in the 2009 DHS Appropriations bill to certain relatives living outside the U.S. Children of Filipino World War II Veterans: The bill exempts the children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas. Fiancé Child Status Protection: The bill allows the DHS Secretary or the Attorney General to adjust the status of an individual immigrating to the U.S. on a fiancé visa and any accompanying minor children to conditional permanent residence. Affidavits of Support: The bill changes affidavit of support requirements to require sponsors to provide support at 100% of poverty level instead of 125% of poverty level. Retaining Workers Subject to Greencard Backlog: The bill allows workers who are eligible for adjustment of status to permanent residence but for whom a visa number is not currently available to apply for adjustment. Return of Talent Program: The bill permits eligible aliens to return to their country of origin for two years if their home country needs talent to help rebuild after a natural disaster or conflict. Permanent Partners: The bill defines “permanent partner” and “permanent partnership” as a term of art for inclusion in the INA and incorporates and integrates “permanent partners” into relevant sections of the INA.
Reforms to Specific Employment-Based Visa Categories: The bill permanently authorizes and includes enhancements to the EB-5 program, and permanent authorizes the Special Immigrant Nonminister Religious Worker Program, the Nonimmigrant Nurses in Health Professional Shortage Areas Program, and the Conrad State 30 Program. It creates incentives for physicians to practice in medically underserved communities. Student Visa Reform: Permits foreign students to enter the U.S. with immigrant intent if they are a bona fide student.
There are many more provisions and not all beneficial. However, it is a great step in the right direction. Call and/or e-mail your congressional representative so that they will know their constituents want this Bill to go through.