Photo: House Approves Measure that Could Allow More Mexicans to Live in the U.S. Legally
A visa bill removing country-specific green card caps, which limit the number of family-based visas, was approved by the House of Representatives this week.
HR 3012, also known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011, would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants from seven percent to 15 percent.
Tuesday, the bill approved by the House with a 389-15 vote, and could help to shorten the currently long wait for naturalized citizens, especially those coming from the Mexico.
Rep. Richard Hanna of New York’s 24th District said he voted in favor of the bill because he found the current visa caps “arbitrary and are a factor in causing the backlogs that currently hamstring our legal immigration system,” adding that the caps “prevent our companies from accessing the top‐tier talent that they need in order to grow and create jobs in the U.S.”
Since many of the visa applicants are educated in the U.S., he said it only makes sense that we harness their talents and not “[send] them out of the country to compete with us.”
It should be noted that the bill does not change the number of visas being issued but as The Hindu put it, “[The] countries that were facing the highest demand-supply mismatch for green cards…will see a benefit in terms of prospective green cards issuance, whereas the waiting time in the queue for smaller nations such as Iceland would jump significantly.”
According to the House Judiciary Committee, the Immigration and Nationality Act generally provides that the total number of family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visas made available to natives of any single foreign country in a year cannot exceed seven percent of the total number of such visas made available in that year. Because of annual caps on employment-based immigrant visas, the population size of certain countries and the large number of natives of those countries for whom employers have petitioned for employment-based immigrant visas, the time it takes for visas to be become available to natives of those countries may be much longer than it takes for natives of other countries.