In early August 2017, President Trump endorsed legislation designed to reduce the number of legal immigrants who come the U.S. by half over the next 10 years. If passed, the bill would mark the most significant change to immigration policies in 50 years.
What Does the Bill Mean for Prospective Immigrants?
If the bill becomes law, it would have significant consequences for the U.S.’s immigration process, including:
Reducing the number of green cards
Every year, around one million green cards are distributed to immigrants who are seeking permanent legal residence in the United States. If the bill passes, the number would be reduced to around 500,000 green cards distributed annually. These cuts are accomplished in large part by eliminating the ability of U.S. citizens to secure permanent residence for their parents and siblings.
Creating a point-based system for employment-based green cards
The bill proposes that employment-based green cards be reserved for high-skill workers. Applicants must accumulate a certain number of points based on factors like ability to speak English, education level, and job skills. It ignores low-skill labor needs. It also does not address temporary employment visas.
Capping refugee and diversity-based admissions
The U.S. resettles a certain number of refugees every year from war-torn or otherwise unstable parts of the world. The bill proposes capping the number of refugees allowed in the country every year at 50,000. It also eliminates the diversity visa lottery, a program that seeks to diversify the immigrant population by awarding 50,000 green cards every year to countries with low levels of immigration to the U.S.
Though framed as measures to protect American workers, the vast majority of economic studies conclude that immigration to the U.S. benefits the U.S. population on the whole. The bill has already received criticism even from fellow Republican lawmakers and seems unlikely to gain traction in its current form. The most significant thing about the President’s endorsement is the endorsement itself: any conception that President Trump is only opposed to illegal immigration has now been disabused by the President himself.
Jennings Immigration Law Office is Knoxville’s Choice for Immigration Issues
The path of citizenship or even securing a path into the country itself is becoming more difficult and complicated under the current administration. At Jennings Immigration Law Office, we know that many recent immigrants are worried about their legal status in the U.S. and their ability to freely travel outside the country.