President Joe Biden Has Begun the Process of Sweeping US Immigration Reform
In his first week in office, President Joe Biden has begun the process of reforming the American immigration procedure. After cancelling all of Trump’s controversial US Immigration policies, Biden has moved on to finishing what he started as vice president under Obama back in 2013.
Primarily, Biden has targeted foreign specialists, making it easier for them to gain citizenship in order to work in the USA. Also, he is looking to improve the citizenship process for both undocumented migrants currently in the country and Dreamers, migrants who came to the USA as children with their parents.
Launched as the US Citizenship Act of 2021, the proposal contains a number of important points, including:
- Allowing undocumented citizens to apply for temporary protected status.
- If they meet specific criteria, both undocumented citizens and Dreamers could apply for a Green Card immediately.
- Those with temporary protected status would be able to apply for citizenship after 5 years, and those with immediate Green Card status after 3.
- Going forward, immigration laws and documents would have to use the term “noncitizen” rather than “alien”.
- Expanding the numbers of Green Cards available in the Diversity Visa Program from 55,000 per year to 80,000 per year.
Another key area of the legislation is the changes Biden wants to make to the H-1B visa. The H-1B visa is the most common way for foreign specialists to gain employment in the USA and is mainly used for temporary workers and foreign students. Biden plans to offer higher wages for existing visa holders in an attempt to keep them in the country.
Also, under the Trump administration, restrictions were placed on H-1B visa holders, including a redefinition of the relationship between employer and employee, and a selection process based on wages. It is thought that this reduced legal immigration by 49% during the 4 years Trump was in power. Biden plans to freeze or withdraw these changes and restrictions.
Importantly for us at the US Green Card Office, though, are his proposed changes to the Diversity Visa Program. Also known as the Green Card Lottery, Biden proposes to increase the number of visas issued from 55,000 to 80,000. This is a commendable and progressive step for those seeking citizenship through the Green Card Lottery. Considering there were over 12 million applicants in 2019, opening up 25,000 more places will certainly make a difference.
It’s clear from these proposed changes that Biden clearly favours diversity within the American workforce. After all, the Trump administration proved that restricting legal immigration simply impacts the diversity and skills of the workforce, while doing little to impact undocumented immigration.
Although this legislation is likely to encounter resistance in the two Houses, it sets a clear precedent for how Biden will run his administration. We welcome the changes to the Diversity Visa Program and hope it will encourage more people to apply. Similarly, we hope this proposed bill will show anyone who might have been concerned about applying for a visa that now is the right time.
If you’re planning to apply for the US Green Card Lottery and need help, contact the US Green Card Office. We’ve helped millions of people begin their dream life in America, and we can do the same for you.