The newly passed H.R.1044 raises caps for family-based green cards

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The bi-partisan bill would increase the per-country limit on family-based visas from 7 percent to 15 percent.

Immigration reform activists across America are hailing the passage of H.R.1044, or the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act. The bill, which was passed yesterday by the US House of Representatives by 365-65 votes shows that bipartisanship still exist in Congress.

The bill, if it becomes law, is expected to benefit American economy while keeping families together.

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ken Buck (R-CO), the main sponsors of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, stated that the it was a much-needed measure to reform the immigration system. While the bill is not yet a law and can face challenges moving forward, according to its supporters, the bill contributes greatly to make America a better place.

For one, the bill would ensure that those seeking permanent residency in the United States do not have to inordinately wait for decades. In some cases, for Indian and Chinese nationals, the wait time is projected to be half-a-century.

RELATED: Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog(December 4, 2018)

By removing the per-country cap for employment-based visas, the proposed law would create a level plaing field for all deserving applicants seeking permanent residency in America. Another important aspect is that the bill also raises caps for family-based green cards. The bill would work by increasing the per-country limit on family-based visas from 7 percent to 15 percent.

This would indeed be a big relief for immigrant families in the country as it would make the system fairer for them.

There is a resounding sentiment amongst the activists that the bill establishes a fairer system through a “first come, first served” policy.

The Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, also referred to as green Card Equality Act by many, opens a new possibility in the field of immigration reforms. Indian American Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), who has been an original co-sponsor of the bill, said the bill would help average American. “As an original cosponsor, I’m glad to see that both parties came together to resoundingly pass the Fairness For High-Skilled Immigrants Act, legislation that will strengthen business development and economic expansion in America,” he said. “By leveling the playing field for high-skilled applicants regardless of their country of birth, this legislation will keep families together while helping American companies retain top talent.”

The first-come, first-served policy would also work towards bringing certainty and stability for many immigrant workers in the US.

But for now, even though the House has acted unequivocally, the bill needs to be taken up by the Senate, where Republicans enjoy a majority. It’s now time for H.R. 1044’s bipartisan companion bill S. 386 to be taken up by the Senate, where its main sponsors are Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

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