The Biden administration has tried yet again to reclaim unused family and employment-based green cards. The Senate passed a spending bill on October 18 that prevents previously granted diversity, family-based, and employment-based green cards from expiring (known as “visa recapture”).
“These amendments will allow US residents to reunite with their families while also helping the economy by allowing employers access to critical labor as the law requires,” according to a press release from the appropriations subcommittee. Nevertheless, while this may benefit people in the family-based green card backlog, it may harm those in the employment-based green card backlog, according to a deep-dive analysis.
As previously stated, the pandemic resulted in an exceptionally low number of family-based green cards being awarded in fiscal 2020 (year ending September 30, 2020), with the unused numbers being carried over to the employment-based category in fiscal 2021. Because the roll-over numbers were not subject to the strictures of a 7% per-country cap, the number of employment-based green card numbers increased to 2,26,000, giving backlogged Indians some hope of receiving a green card.
However, as of October 1, almost 83,000 employment-based green cards have expired (gone to waste) due to processing delays at USCIS. This is due to the fact that current restrictions prohibit any additional roll-over.
Furthermore, in the case of employment-based green cards, the budget bill’s mathematical mechanism for recapture has been criticized. Recapturing family-based green cards will eliminate the substantial spillover to the employment-based green card category, which would have aided the backlogged Indian diaspora, who have a nearly 80-year waiting list.
“This means that the provisions both negate the increase in fiscal 2022 and do not recoup any employment-based green cards lost in fiscal 2021,” David Bier, a research scholar at the Cato Institute, tweeted. “So instead of receiving 80,000, they lose 1,50,000…”
A Senate bill and a House Bill were recently introduced in order to assure that green cards would not expire.
The Biden administration has accepted the truth, claiming that one of the key reasons for this is that many offices were closed due to the pandemic. Furthermore, restrictions implemented by the Trump administration contributed to a decrease in the number of family-preference green cards in 2020.
This adds to the system’s failure, which puts hundreds of thousands of skilled and legally employed employees in limbo even when it’s working properly. Highly educated immigrants who qualify for green cards should expect to wait an average of 16 years to receive them. Because the number of cards provided to each country is limited, many Indian immigrants who have been authorized for permanent residency in the United States will never receive one.
Democrats in Congress have so far refused to support the plan because they want to include larger immigration reforms in their $3.5 trillion spending proposal.