NEW YORK: After a political tussle that lasted more than a year, the US Senate passed a bill that increases the number of current immigrant countries from the number of permanent-residence permits issued to legal immigrants, potentially for decades. Paving the way for the waiting Indians. Long lines for easy breathing.
But there is a catch. Many, indeed. This is the version problem of Senate vs. House of MPs.
Aparna Bhatnagar, an Indian living in Stamford, Connecticut, who has been “in the queue forever”, puts events in context. He said, “This version has to reconcile with the previous version passed by the House. It still has a long way to go and will hold the new benches by that time. Let’s wait and see.”
The “previous version” to which Bhatnagar refers is a priority for the High-Skilled Immigrants Act ‘which passed the House of Representatives in 2019 – 365 to 65 votes.
What the Senate passed late Wednesday night was a similar piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Lee (Republican, Utah), not the exact one passed by the House. Senator Lee’s state of Utah, incidentally, is the new magnet for the adjacent business model in the US.
Senate and House bills now have to be placed on each other and a combo version must be passed to both the House and Senate before being sent to the White House.
Current US regulations limit any country to 7 percent of all employment-based green cards. Indians make more than 600,000 people whose paperwork is approved but are waiting.
The US State Department offers about 140,000 green cards a year, but does not have how many applications are approved each year – creating a demand supply disparity that puts millions of legal immigrants on a permanent waiting list.
Rashi Bhatnagar, an Atlanta resident, said, “This is a really great decision by the Senate. Fingers crossed because the House has to pass the bill with additional amendments.”
Anirban Das, who has been through the Peace and started a skilled group (Skilled Immigrants) in the US (SIIA), points to the challenges faced in a tweet. “We need to work to get it passed in the House. I hope everyone can come together to learn that this is the right thing to do.”
Various Republican senators opposed the law in its current incarnation, revolving around the concern centers around in the Senate version of the bill.
Sen. Rand Paul (Republican, Kentucky) has inserted a provision for nurses from the Philippines and is seeking new restrictions on companies that employ half of their employees on H1B visas. Sen. Rick Scott (Republican, Florida) added two more to the mix: a new limit on the total number of immigrants on H1B visas for the next 10 years who can get a green card and another who can remove immigration from China.
“While I recognize the sincerity of all members and senators struggling to find a solution, unfortunately the provisions sent by the Senate to the House yesterday most likely make it worse, not better,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, of the House Judiciary Subcommittee director. Immigration, which sponsored the House bill.
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