Immigration Reform Affects Legal Aliens

Posted on May 30, 2006 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Effect of Immigration Reform on Legal Immigrants

Currently, the debate regarding immigration reform in the Congress and the public opinions focuses upon the issue of illegal immigrants.  There are two reasons for this: one is the large number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. whose influence on national security cannot be neglected; the other is the recently unprecedented rallies protesting the immigration bill passed by the House caused people to pay more attention upon illegal immigrants. We have already analyzed this trend in our previously written articles.  Do the recent developments mean that the current immigration reform will only solve the problem of illegal immigrants? Will the USCIS pay all its attention to the legalization of illegal immigrants so that fewer visas and fewer USCIS officers will be allocated to the adjustment of status of legal immigrant in the U.S. or overseas?

Many legal immigrants worry that the immigration reform could have an adverse impact on their applications.  Nevertheless, their worries are not justified.  From the beginning of the immigration reform debate, most of the bills proposed by senators have provisions that intend to increase the immigration visas available to legal immigrants.  Furthermore, the bill recently passed by the Senate contains provisions regarding the increase of visas that is quite favorable to legal immigrants.

Last summer, Republican Senator McCain and Democrat Senator Kennedy proposed a bill with provisions to set up a new type of visa, H-5A visa, to allow more alien workers to work in the U.S.  This bill would not only give alien workers more opportunities to work in the U.S., but also would make it easier for them to adjust their status.

Later, Republican Senator Hagel, promoted a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill suggested to set up a new temporary worker’s program and to exempt alien students with advanced degree earned in the U.S. universities from quota limitations when they apply for the H-1B status.  The bill also suggested the cancellation of the quota restrictions on family-based immigration.

This February, Alan Spector, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed a bill in response to the Hagel Bill.  The bill contains a lot of provisions aiming to benefit legal immigrants.

Most recently, Republican Senator John Cornyn proposed a bill to increase the number of quotas for the H-1B applicants.

In summary, nearly all the bills proposed by Senators have provisions that either intend to increase the immigration visas available to legal immigrants or to increase the number of quotas for legal immigrants to work in the U.S.  Even though the democrats and republicans differ substantially on how to treat illegal immigrants, they seem to hold a quite similar position regarding legal immigrants.  As a result, we are very optimistic about the possibility for the democrats and republicans to reach a consensus on increasing immigrant visas and working visas for legal immigrants.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.