S.386/H.R.1044 - A Narrowly Focused Immigration Overhaul Battle in the Senate Continues into 2020

Immigration Reads Jan 25, 2020

Excerpt —

Senator reached a compromise with his democratic colleagues. However, only time will tell, whether or not any unexpected sting still waiting at the end. Keep your fingers crossed.

Introduction —

S.386, a senate version of H.R.1044, is in work for about a year now. Spearheading this effort is UTAH Senator Mike Lee. In the last year, despite objections from many of his party colleagues, he kept this bill alive and managed to bring them around with compromise.

However, For Senator Lee, the last obstacle was more challenging than anything else he has faced during this bill lifetime. That accolade goes to Democratic Senator from Illinois Mr. Dick Durbin.

Durbin was totally against the spirit of this bill from the outset. He expressed his displeasure openly many times in the town hall and on other occasions on the Senate floor. And several times cast his vote to stand in the way of getting unanimous consent (UC) to process this bill in the Senate, a process maneuver available to expedite the legislation.

Without securing UC, this bill has no chance of getting out of the Senate and complete the rest of the process in time during this current congress. However, recently Senator Mike Lee's team has announced the news about a compromise reached with Senator Durbin and expected voting sometime in 2020.

S.386/H.R.1044 - A Narrowly Focused Immigration Overhaul Battle in the Senate Continues into 2020 - Rent The Ant

Here is the rundown of the updated version of this bill

Senator Lee's main task is to strick a balance to onboard all stakeholders and offers something for everyone.

Reserved Visa's for Rest of the World

With the transition period three to nine years, allocation of the reserved quota of visas offered to specific categories at a varying level. The irony is that this bill supposes to do away with the age-old quota system. Instead, we are solving that with more quotas.

And, this point hotly debated one by other countries and would-be immigrants. Because, during this period, only a set percentage of visas available with a string attached - based on where they located and the history of previous stay relevant to the USA at the time of filling applications.

  1. The year 2021 — 15% for non-Indian, Chinese
  2. The year 2022 — 10% for non-Indian, Chinese
  3. The year 2023 — 10% for non-Indian, Chinese
  4. The year between 2021 to 2029 — 5.75% G.C.s reserved for non-Indian, Chinese.
  5. The year between 2020 to 2026 — 4400 Green card reserved for specific medical professionals.

Even though this transition period provisions offer some relief to the rest of the world wannabe future immigrants. Removing the country cap meant one of the lucrative perks of coming from fewer populace countries.

And, no wonder this point hotly debated among the rest of the countries and would-be immigrants from India and China.

During this period, only a set percentage of reserved visas available with a string attached - based on where they located and the history of previous stay relevant to the USA at the time of filling applications.

Eligible to Apply I485 —

Irrespective of Priority Date (P.D.) status

In my view, if they are not able to work out the full package of reform as it proposed right now. Senator's should at least carve out this class alone and provide relief for applicants waiting in line for years.

I485 alone will solve the N-number of issues and bring meaningful impact to individuals and bring economic benefits to the local community in general.

I have covered some of the justifications for this fix:

The Reasons Why Legal Immigration Needs an Immediate Fix in the United States
While being debated for a decade now, A section of the legal immigrant community silently suffering in the depths of despair over their helpless situation.

With this, individuals with I140 approved or application pending for more than 270 days will become eligible to apply for I485.

With the means to get eligible dependents EAD, all primary income earners will get much-needed mobility with employment, and most importantly, totally do away with the issue of children's aging out.

Do No Harm Clause

A provision added to give direct guidance on how the existing applications vs. new ones must be handled after this law enacted.

As expected, pending backlogs will be processed first. And new applications will be subject to the transition period clause, and applicable rules applied based on the time of application filling.

After all, Problem with H4 EAD here to stay

Our understanding is that this EAD relief only being offered to already eligible workers in the family. And this way, all Senator has some leeway and deniability against the claim of importing cheap labor and paint this legislation as green card giveaway.

I think those who are getting relief around mobility and issue surrounding children's age out can live without EAD for dependents.

Status Protection for Dependent

This clause is the major one, especially when someone waiting or going to wait for years to get permanent status.

God forbid if a family had to face the unexpected demise of principal applicants. They are not going to lose their status and face immediate deportation. And have options with the family to decide, whether to emigrate to the home country or not.

Some of other major highlights in this bill —

  1. No Increase in the Number of Available Visas.
  2. No Change in How they Counting Applications against available Visas.
  3. Actual Green Card only be issued, When applicant P.D. becomes due.

H1B Reform

I have saved this as the last one for a reason. I see this as a poison clause and wish that my assumption is wrong.

Only time will tell whether or not this one will become a real show stopper in the proceeding.

With this clause, U.S. companies will be designated as H1B dependent ones or not based on the numerical status of an employee's immigration status. With that, those companies may or may not further restricted from tapping into this pool of resources for needs.

It's called 50:50 clause, any companies with more than 50 employees and having 50% of their employee's on immigrant status, then they are not eligible to further sponsor for an immigrant visa.

Just take it in, and for a moment, think about it. Do you see a bunch of lobbyists already hired to put this bill to eventual death bed?

That's my prediction for now.

I will keep on updating this at the top with the date. Watch this column for any new status.

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