Federal policies on immigration constantly change depending on current events and the balance of political power. Currently, there is a push for immigration reform. Some federal lawmakers want to integrate certain immigration changes into budget negotiations.
Currently, members of the House of Representatives have included two potentially significant immigration changes in the budget reconciliation bill. If the bill passes with these provisions still in place, they could have a profound impact on those living in the United States or hoping to secure green cards.
What potential immigration reforms are currently part of the budget reconciliation bill?
Lawmakers proposed a change to deportation practices
Those who enter the country without documentation or stay after their visas expire are at risk of deportation. Even those who never commit any criminal offenses are at risk of removal despite living in the United States for years.
However, the budget reconciliation built suggests a kind of immigration “parole period” for immigrants without documentation. If passed, this change to immigration law could help law-abiding but undocumented immigrants protect their right to live and work in the United States.
Undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before 2011 could become eligible for employment authorization despite the lack of documentation. This authorization would last for five years, and immigrants would be able to renew the authorization. Lawmakers estimate that this could help as many as seven million people already living in the country.
The bill could change green card rules as well
Green cards or permanent resident cards are immigration documents that allow people to permanently stay in the United States. Currently, there is a specific number of green cards issued each year. If the government does not issue the allotted number of green cards, those opportunities effectively disappear.
There are an estimated 80,000 green cards that will go to waste just in 2021. The suggested changes would allow the government to recover those unused green cards from previous years. These and other immigration changes could make entry into the United States possible for tens of thousands of people currently living abroad. These new rules could also potentially benefit those living in the United States without documentation.
Learning about potential immigration policy changes can help those who want to legally live or work in the United States.