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AILA Doc. No. 19080632 | Dated December 23, 2020
AILA has been a long time, ardent supporter of the elimination of the per-country limitations for employment-based immigrants because individuals should become permanent residents based on the skills they bring to the United States and not their nationality. We believe that Congress must take action to provide fair redress to individuals who have been stuck in the immigrant visa backlog for decades, without adversely impacting others.
AILA will continue to champion, both legislatively and administratively, the principles outlined in the RELIEF Act (H.R. 5327: Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employers and Families Act) to ensure equitable and fair redress to individuals and their families while waiting for an immigrant visa to become available. These principles outline steps to bring real reform to our immigrant visa system, including exempting spouses and minor children of primary applicants from the immigrant visa quotas, enabling individuals to get the benefits of filing adjustment of status applications earlier, increasing the number of green cards over the next five years, protecting minor children from aging out, and eliminating the per country caps.
On February 7, 2019, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 was introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 1044 / S. 386). This bill would have eliminated the per-country numerical limitation for all employment-based immigrants, and increase the per-country limitation for all family-sponsored immigrants from seven percent to 15 percent. Different versions of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044 and S. 386) passed the House and Senate in July 2019 and December 2020, respectively. This legislation has failed because the differences between the two versions were not reconciled prior to the end of the 116th Session of Congress. To be considered again, this legislation would have to be reintroduced in the new Congress, passed by the House and Senate, any differences reconciled, and signed into law by the President. At this time, there is no active legislation in Congress seeking to eliminate per country limitations for employment-based immigrants.
In President-Elect Biden’s immigration plan, he has committed to working with Congress to address unacceptably long backlogs, by eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country. This is a part of greater reforms to the immigration system. AILA will continue to monitor any legislative activity related to these issues and provide updates on this page.
On July 10, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044) by a vote of 365 to 65. A modified version of H.R. 1044 (S. 386) was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate on December 2, 2020. AILA is providing the below summary of the major provisions in the two different versions of the bill. Because the differences in these bills were not reconciled by the House and Senate prior to the end of the 116th Session of Congress, this legislation failed.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 19080632.
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