Effect of 2006 Senate Bill 3/3

Posted on 7月 11, 2006 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Effects of the Senate Bill on Family-based Immigration

The family-based immigration is the greatest category in the U.S. immigration and it is designed to help the family members to reunite with one another. Just as the problems of employment-based immigration and illegal immigrants, the problems of family-based immigration could also have significant effects on the U.S. society. So the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 has not only aimed to solve the problems of employment-based immigration and illegal immigrants, but also to solve the problems of family-based immigration.

According to the current U.S. immigration law, aliens qualify for a green card if they are immediate relatives or preference relatives of U.S. citizens or green card holders. The immediate relatives are not restricted by the quota, but the preference relatives are. Meanwhile, the increase of immediate relatives could relatively decrease the quota of preference relatives because each year a definite number of visas are available for the family-based immigrants as a whole. Additionally, different countries have different quota. The countries with a lot of immigrants like China, Philippines and Mexico have been experiencing a significantly greater shortage of visa every year.  For the immigrants from those countries have been waiting for a long time for the quota, and the longest waiting period of preference relatives has been almost 21 years.  Such a long waiting period is obviously adverse to the idea of reuniting the family.

Thus, the biggest problem of the family-based immigration seems to be the scarcity of quota. In order to solve this matter, the senate bill has proposed that the number of spouses and unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens would not be counted in the total of family-based immigrants and that the quota would be increased from 226,000 to 480,000. If the senate bill becomes law, the preference relatives would not be plagued by the quota and the entire quota available for the family-based immigrants could be used by the preference relatives.  This could shorten the waiting period by far. For example, the longest waiting period for the fourth preference came from China has been 11years under the present immigration system. Under the new bill, however, it would be shortened to 6 years.

At the same time, the new bill proposed to promote the growth rate of the quota from 7% to 10%. It would be especially good news for those countries with a lot of immigrants like China or Mexico, because it could shorten the waiting period on one hand, and give more people opportunities to reunite with their relatives on the other hand.

Generally speaking, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 tries to solve the problems of the family-based immigration by directly increasing the quota and by promoting the growth rate of the quota every year. It seems that there is no significant difference in the view between the Senate and the House of Representatives on the problems of the family-based immigration. Since the problems of the family-based immigration may have less influence on national security and solving these problems could actually help decreasing the number of illegal immigrants in general, it may be much easier for the Senate and the House of Representatives to reach an agreement on this issue.

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