If enacted, the legislation would eliminate country-wise quota for employment-based green cards, ensuring that people from all countries are treated equally in the green card process.
(This story has been updated.)
There was some mid-week good news in store for all those who had been waiting in long, inexplicable green card lines in the country. Today, the House of Representatives passed the H.R. 1044 or the “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act.”
The bipartisan bill aims to make the employment based green card system in the United States fairer by providing an equal waiting time for people from all nationalities who have applied for permanent residence in the United States.
While the bill still has to be passed by the US Senate, the upper house and awaits a signature from the president before it can become a law, for many immigration activists, today’s win gives hope.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the Democrat who represents California’s 19th congressional district, who has been long campaigning for the bill, along with Rep. Ken Buck, R-CO, was elated about the bill’s passage in the House. He tweeted: “The House passed @RepKenBuck’s and my bipartisan bill to make our visa system fairer for skilled immigrants legally working in the US. #HR1044 has 200+ Dem and 100+ GOP cosponsors. If @POTUS is serious about merit-based legal immigration, he should help usher this bill into law.”
Popularly called the “Green Card Equality Bill” in the immigration reform circuits, it is seen as a positive first step to fix the broken immigration system that has not seen any reform in the past three decades. Many immigration reform activists had been working for decades to pass a bill like this.
However, experts are aware that the bill still faces many challenges.
Here is the previous report:
There is good news on the immigration legislation front and especially for those who are waiting for green cards. The Democratic House Leadership has called for a vote on H.R. 1044, or “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act” this week.
The bill may be a big deal for people who are stuck in the green card wait for decades. Immigration lawyers say that the bill, which will remove the county limit on green cards, has a fair chance becoming law.
Most experts believe that H.R. 1044, which already has 311 bi-partisan co-sponsors, will sail through the Democratic controlled House. In the 435-member strong House of Representatives, fewer than 220 votes are needed for the passage of the bill. So, that certainly would work in favor of H.R. 1044.
But it is important to also note the next steps for the bill to become a law. Once the House clears it, H.R. 1044 will be going to be the upper chamber, the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans, and faces tougher hurdles.
If the Senate passes it, there is another looming question that concerns the bill and it is whether the president would sign it.
Which means the bill has a long way to go.
Main opponents of the bill are groups that are opposed to H-1B, who argue that it is only going to benefit Indian immigrants. However, immigration lawyer Rahul Reddy disputes that notion.
“I believe there is a lot of misinformation on the bill that it would benefit only Indian nationals,” he said. “There is nothing in the bill that would benefit only Indians. If you look at it objectively you will see all that the bill would do is to remove discrimination. The bill does not specify India anywhere. All they are saying is that all nations will be treated equally.”
Reddy recommends the bill’s supporters to contact their congressmen and stress that the it is all about discrimination. “There is a discrimination based on the national origin in the existing law and this new bill H.R. 1044 is taking the discrimination away,” he said.
He added that the bill will create a level-playing field. Of course, those who have been waiting in the line for long will be benefited but it should not matter who they are. It only says that no one should be discriminated based on their country of origin.
Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)
Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)