(DailyVantage.com) – Immigration has been a hot-button issue for the last two years since President Joe Biden took office. However, not all migrants who come to the United States do so over the southern border. Many come on employment-based green cards. Still, there’s a cap on how many applicants the government approves each year. Some lawmakers are trying to eliminate or expand the limit, and they just suffered a setback.
EAGLE Act Explained
The bill, titled Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act or EAGLE, has two proposals. First, it wants to do away entirely with the 7% annual per-country limit established for employment visas. Second, it also seeks to raise the family-sponsored visa amount from its current per-country cap of 7% to 15%.
Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) sponsored the bipartisan legislation. The two lawmakers contend that America is “hurting for workers,” and removing the cap for employment visas “will help fix our workforce shortage and spur economic growth,” per a press release on Cramer’s website.
At its core, the EAGLE Act includes the following provisions:
- Instills a 9-year transition period during the phasing out of per-country limits
- Creates a path for those on the visa backlog to apply for a green card, though they must wait until the visa is available
- Reinforces the H-1B temporary visa program
Critics based part of the pushback against the legislation on its undue favoritism toward those from China and India, a point Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) made in a speech on the House floor on Tuesday, December 13, according to Roll Call.
It’s not just Republicans speaking out against the bill either. Democrats share similar concerns. Because while the bill is looking to phase out per-country limits, it’s not increasing the overall number of visas available. To combat this, Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (IL) has introduced legislation to increase the number of visas by not counting minor children and other dependents against the total figure.
The EAGLE Act was heading for a House floor vote, but Democrats withdrew it when it became clear it wouldn’t pass. For now, it’s dead in the water, but that doesn’t mean it won’t ever come back up for debate in the future. Yet, both sides of the aisle have made it clear they need to tie up any loose ends before the bill stands a chance.
FWD.us, a pro-immigration lobbying group, backed this bill.
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