Update: Trump to Slash Green Cards by 50%

In this article:

  • Greater Focus on Merit-Based Immigration
  • Restrictions on Family-Based Immigration
  • New Visa for Parents of Citizens

Alcorn Immigration Update: by Sophie Alcorn and Jaylen Dominguez
 Alcorn supports Immigration for Innovation by obtaining visas, green cards, and citizenship for highly-motivated investors, founders, talent, and families.

This week Politico reported that immigration reform is in the works, spearheaded by two Republican senators and the Trump Administration. Some major reforms on the horizon would dramatically shake up immigration as we know it.

Likely Changes

  1. Green cards will be cut from 1,000,000 to 500,000 per year.
  2. Merit-based immigration will expand.
  3. Family-based immigration will be dramatically reduced.
  4. The diversity Visa Green Card Lottery will be canceled entirely.

In February of this year, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia proposed the RAISE Act. This legislation aims to raise American workers’ wages by reducing family-sponsored immigration. Trump heavily praised this proposal and now is reportedly working together on broader reform.

Longer Waits

This new proposal would reduce the flow of legal Immigration by 2027 from about 1 million legal immigrants obtaining green cards each year to only 500,000. This could increase already very long wait times for people who are applying for green cards from China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines. Even now, the wait can be five, 10, 15 or even 20 years for green cards. This will just exacerbate the problem.

Greater Focus on Merit-Based Immigration

Trump has talked about increasing merit-based immigration, referencing Canada and Australia, which award points based on skills, such as education and language ability and tend to attract young graduates and professionals.

Increasing merit-based immigration in the U.S. could mean increasing immigration levels for individuals in the current EB-1A category, including people with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers and executives. It could also potentially affect the EB-2 category, for outstanding individuals, those with advanced degrees, and those doing work that is in the National Interest.

Disadvantages of the Merit-Based Point System

However, relying on a merit-based system could impede economic prosperity. Industries that rely heavily on low-skilled immigrant labor would be adversely affected. The proposal will undermine groups already significantly disadvantaged by our current immigration system. The merit-based system will inevitably marginalize critical groups of people who are part of the fabric of American society and thus reduce the diversity of thought and skill critical for advancing our economic interests in the 21st century.

Fate of Skilled Professionals with H-1B?

Also unknown is the fate of immigration for college-level professionals via the H-1B program. There have been many proposals by Congress to limit the number of H-1Bs and increase the minimum salary to deter employers from hiring foreigners. However, a deterrent effect is unlikely because most American employers already feel overwhelmed by the prospect of sponsoring a foreign-born worker for an H-1B visa given the randomness of the lottery and the filing fees. They would prefer to hire American if they could find a qualified employee.

We often advise our clients to use their H-1Bs now, while they can. This can mean transferring jobs to a new employer, or obtaining an H-1B now through a university, even though the H-1B lottery is in April. H-1Bs might not be an option in the future.

Restrictions on Family-Based Immigration

The proposed cuts could eliminate entire categories of family members from obtaining green cards. They could also reduce annual amounts of immigrants per category. This would increase already lengthy wait times for people from India, Mexico, the Philippines, and China to move to the U.S. The following is a list of family-based immigration categories that could be on the chopping block in the future:

Potentially Affected Groups

The groups that could be affected, because they are not typically thought to live together in the same household based on a modern American cultural viewpoint, and the proposals are to maintain nuclear family immigration, are:

  1. Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens (F-1)
  2. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents (F-2B)
  3. Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens (F-3)
  4. Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens (F-4)

New Visa for Parents of Citizens

The bill contains one pro-immigration element: It would create a new nonimmigrant visa for the parents of U.S. citizens, which would allow them to visit the United States for up to five years at a time. Under this proposal, the U.S. citizen adult son or daughter must guarantee to pay for the parent’s health insurance while in the U.S

If this non-immigrant visa status were to exist, it would solve a problem faced by many foreign grandparents who would like to be able to visit their naturalized U.S. citizen children in the United States and take care of their grandchildren. It has been intensely difficult in the past for aging parents of U.S. citizens to obtain tourist visas to the United States. Often, consular officers deny these tourist visas for immigrant intent. The new visa would allow these parents to come visit their adult children on relatively short notice.

Need immigration assistance? Alcorn Immigration Law is available. Give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.

Originally published at Alcorn Immigration Law.