Green card expansion in budget reconciliation bill

Here is a very brief summary of one of the immigration provisions in the Budget Reconciliation bill: the release (“recapture”) of at least 400,000 slots for green card issuance, numbers which were authorized in past years but unused.

Per the Wall Street Journal, In all, about four million people sponsored by a family member are in line for a green card. About 1.2 million more people who are sponsored by an employer—and typically already here on temporary visas—are also waiting for a green card.

The proposed measure would recover about 400,000 green cards, slightly over half for families and the rest for employers, according to a Congressional aide familiar with the estimate.

Additional measures would allow immigrants to jump ahead in line for an extra fee, either $2,500 or $5,000 depending on the category. These will be in addition to the recapture inventory of unused visas. (Go here.)

The Senate parliamentarian must approve the provision for acceptance by the Senate, as having a significant impact on the budget. The parliamentarian has implied it will be accepted. Such a provision was accepted in 2005.

The WSJ goes on to say that the coronavirus pandemic shut down immigration offices around the country and U.S. consulates around the world, halting visa and green-card processing, and leaving several hundreds of thousands of green cards unused. I posted on this a month ago, here.

The Center for Immigration Studies calls visa recapture a scam.

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