Latest version of Build Back Better Act includes high-skilled immigration reform

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A man exits the transit area after clearing immigration and customs on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., September 24, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/Files

The latest draft of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), that President Joe Biden and different factions of the Democratic Party have been hammering out in Congress, includes comprehensive high-skilled immigration reforms that Indian-American lawmakers have been wanting.

In his statement, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said he was pleased that the draft legislation released the night of Oct. 28, 2021, contained provisions he had fought for on behalf of high-skilled foreign workers.

India is the source of an overwhelming number of H-1B skilled workers, and hundreds of thousands of them are stuck in a backlog unable to get their permanent residence in the U.S. despite having applied many years ago.

The draft Build Back Better Act amends the Immigration and Nationality Act registry cut-off date to allow individuals who entered the U.S. prior to January 1, 2010 to apply for green cards; recaptures family-sponsored and employment-based green cards unused since 1992; allows individuals with approved immigrant petitions to file for adjustment of status early upon payment of a fee; and exempts family-sponsored and employment-based applicants from numerical limits on visas for an additional fee.

“I am pleased that the Build Back Better Act legislation released last night in the U.S. House of Representatives will finally provide relief for the over 1.2 million high-skilled workers stuck in the employment-based green card backlog,” Congressman Krishnamoorthi said in his statement.

“Democrats have heard these workers’ heartbreaking stories of decades-long green card queues and children being forced to self-deport, and are now taking action. I would like to thank House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in particular for their ongoing support for these critical reforms,” Krishnamoorthi added.

Krishnamoorthi noted he has long been a long-time champion of reforming the immigration system for high-skilled immigrants.

He is an original cosponsor of the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act (H.R. 3648) and, along with Representatives Kathy Manning and Deborah Ross, led 40 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader Chuck Schumer on the importance of addressing the employment-based green card backlog in the Build Back Better Act. .

The Build Back Better Act legislation released Oct. 29, was a “compromise framework” agreed to by the House, Senate, and the White House and still requires final passage in both Chambers of Congress.

 

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