Subject: Important Update on Immigration Reform

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!
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The Good: Senate expected to pass Immigration Reform today

As you may be aware, later today the Senate is expected to pass a bill, which is awesome. Senate version of the bill has many of the provisions we have advocated for years, including elimination of per-country limits, recapture, exempting dependents, etc. We applaud the Senate for passing Immigration Reform.

We would also like to thank each and every one who has worked hard over the years and been on our side. It would have not been possible to create awareness for the common sense EB provisions if it were not for your help.THANK YOU!

However, all is not going well. House immigration bill does not include much of the EB green card provisions.

The Bad: House Bill

The House version of the bill currently increases H1B to 195,000. The bill eliminates per-country limits, which is great, but it increases EB green cards by only 30,000, without any of the green card reform that the Senate bill does. The danger is that we could lose the good parts of the Senate bill during House-Senate negotiations when the two versions of the bill are merged in conference. Moreover, in addition to not improving the EB green card system and reducing backlogs and retrogression, the bill has H1 increase and no real green card increase. Some estimates suggest that over 20 years, the House bill will add 14 million immigrants on H1/L1 visa, with only 3.3 million EB green cards over the same period. When more and more people come into the system and get stuck in jobs that they cannot leave while they wait for green cards, what happens is not pretty and we know it all too well.

The Ugly: Consequence - Bigger Backlogs

Compared to Senate bill, the House bill will have around 350,000 fewer EB green cards annually. Immigration Voice is always been neutral on H1B quota issue and we still are. However, the bill has to have proportional increase in green cards to match H1B quota increase. Otherwise it creates a bottle-neck where new applicants join the queue faster than old applicants leave the queue. The current backlog is a result of increase in H1B quota in 2001, 2002 and 2003, without a proportional increase in the green-card quota. Back then, Congress had raised H-1B quota from 65,000 to 195,000. That created a backlog which we have seen since 2005. Prior to that, there was no retrogression.

You think the current backlogs are huge, compare that with EB system with around 10 million fewer EB green cards over 20 years.

What can you do:

We have to borrow a page from our own playbook and learn our lessons from the history of our per-country limit elimination effort. You worked hard, talked to lawmakers, advocated in the media and collaborated with your employers. We have to do that again. We have urgent action items that require immediate execution. If we do not act now and if H1B quota goes up without a proportional increase in green card quota, we will be waiting in the backlogs for several more years of our lives as opportunities pass us by.

So click here for the action items to work with us and improve the House bill.

Aman Kapoor
Immigration Voice