Urge the Senate to Include Immigration Reform in the Build Back Better Act
Last Friday, the House passed its version of the Build Back Better Act, which included key immigration provisions:
- Recapture of green cards in the employment, family, and diversity categories that have been unused since the 1990s.
- Exemption from the immigrant visa numerical limitations for individuals whose priority date is at least 2 years old (for an additional filing fee).
- 10-year parole and work authorization for foreign nationals who arrived in the U.S. before January 1, 2011 and have resided here continuously since then.
- $2.8 billion funding to USCIS to increase processing capacity and reduce backlog.
If these provisions are included in the final version of the bill, they would have a significant impact in reducing the green card backlog, particularly in the employment-based categories. The recapture of hundreds of thousands of green cards that have gone to waste will go a long way in alleviating the existing wait time that thousands of applicants face between their I-140 approval and being able to file the adjustment of status application. Furthermore, exemption from the cap will prevent the development of future backlogs, as applicants could file the I-485 application two years after their priority date, regardless of their country of birth.
It is not yet clear whether the Senate’s version of the Build Back Better Act will include similar immigration reform measures. Work on the bill is expected to begin in early December, with a final version anticipated by Christmas.
These upcoming weeks are therefore crucial in determining whether these long-overdue, necessary reforms are passed via budget reconciliation. Green card recapture in particular has occurred in the past with bipartisan support, and so we encourage everyone to contact their Senators to advocate for inclusion of these fair, common sense immigration provisions in the Build Back Better Act.
By: Rebecca Chen