NewsUS Immigration Reform: Faster Asylum Adjudication, More Green Cards on the Table...

US Immigration Reform: Faster Asylum Adjudication, More Green Cards on the Table – U. S Immigration News

The United States immigration system has long been plagued by backlogs and lengthy processing times, leaving countless individuals and families in limbo for years as they await their green cards. However, a new bipartisan immigration reform bill aims to address this issue by introducing measures to shorten the green card wait time significantly.

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Key Provisions of the US Immigration Reform Bill

Increasing the Annual Cap on Green Cards

One of the most significant provisions of the bill is the proposed increase in the annual cap on green cards, also known as immigrant visas. Currently, the United States issues a maximum of 140,000 employment-based green cards and a limited number of family-based green cards each year. Click here to learn more about the current green card caps.

The reform bill seeks to raise this cap by an additional 250,000 immigrant visas over five years, with 160,000 allocated for family-based visas and 90,000 for employment-based visas. This increase in the annual cap is a long-overdue measure that aims to address the growing backlog of green card applications and provide more opportunities for legal immigration to the United States. By expanding the number of available green cards, the bill seeks to reduce the wait times for both family-based and employment-based applicants, allowing them to obtain permanent residency and pursue their dreams in the United States more efficiently.

Expediting the Asylum Process

US Immigration Reform: Faster Asylum Adjudication, More Green Cards on the Table – U. S Immigration News

The reform bill also proposes significant changes to the asylum process, aiming to streamline and expedite the adjudication of asylum claims. Under the proposed system, asylum claims would be adjudicated by asylum officers rather than immigration courts, potentially reducing the backlog and ensuring faster processing times.

The bill would establish a new “protection determination” process, where asylum seekers encountered at the border would undergo a fear screening within 90 days. Asylum officers would have the authority to grant or deny asylum or other forms of protection on the spot. Those who cannot be interviewed within the 90-day window or are referred for a merits interview would become eligible for work permits, allowing them to support themselves while awaiting a final decision.

Nursing Abroad tourist family 800x450 1This streamlined approach aims to address the current challenges faced by the asylum system, where cases can take years to be processed due to the overwhelming backlog in immigration courts.

Providing Legal Counsel for Unaccompanied Minors

Recognizing the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors navigating the complex immigration system, the reform bill includes provisions to ensure access to legal representation for these individuals. Specifically, the bill would mandate government-funded legal counsel for unaccompanied children aged 13 or younger, as well as for particularly vulnerable, mentally incompetent adults.

This measure acknowledges the importance of ensuring fair and equitable treatment for these vulnerable populations, who may face significant challenges in understanding and navigating the legal processes without proper representation.

Addressing the Root Causes of Migration

While the reform bill primarily focuses on addressing the immigration system within the United States, it also acknowledges the need to address the root causes of migration from Central America. The bill proposes measures to support economic development, strengthen democratic institutions, and combat corruption and violence in the region.

By addressing these underlying factors that drive migration, the bill aims to create more stable and prosperous conditions in these countries, potentially reducing the need for individuals to seek refuge or better opportunities in the United States.

Impact on Applicants

The proposed immigration reform bill has the potential to significantly impact various categories of applicants, both positively and negatively. Here’s a breakdown of how different groups may be affected:

Family-Based Applicants

For individuals seeking to reunite with their family members in the United States, the reform bill offers a glimmer of hope. The increase in the annual cap on family-based green cards could potentially reduce the wait times for these applicants, allowing them to be reunited with their loved ones more quickly.

Additionally, the bill proposes to expand the categories of individuals considered immediate relatives, further facilitating family reunification6. By removing barriers and streamlining the process, the reform bill aims to promote family unity and stability for noncitizens.

Employment-Based Applicants

The reform bill also addresses the needs of employment-based applicants, including highly skilled workers and their families. The proposed increase in the annual cap on employment-based green cards could significantly reduce the wait times for these individuals, allowing businesses to attract and retain top talent more efficiently.

Moreover, the bill seeks to ensure that spouses and children of highly skilled workers, as well as individuals on fiancé visas, are eligible to work legally in the United States. This measure recognizes the importance of supporting the families of skilled workers and promoting their integration into the workforce.

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

For asylum seekers and refugees, the reform bill introduces both opportunities and challenges. The proposed streamlining of the asylum process could potentially lead to faster adjudication of claims, reducing the uncertainty and stress associated with prolonged wait times reported ABC News.

However, the bill also includes provisions to heighten screening standards, making it more difficult to make an asylum claim.

Additionally, the proposed “Border Emergency Authority” could temporarily prohibit certain asylum seekers from entering the United States, subject to exceptions and limitations. It is crucial to strike a balance between ensuring a fair and efficient asylum process while upholding the United States’ commitment to providing refuge for those fleeing persecution.

Undocumented Immigrants

While the reform bill addresses various aspects of the immigration system, it does not provide a comprehensive solution for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.

The bill preserves the president’s authority to grant humanitarian parole as needed but does not offer a permanent path forward for those granted such temporary protections.

This omission has drawn criticism from advocates who argue that a comprehensive immigration reform should address the status of undocumented individuals and provide a pathway to legal status or citizenship for those who meet certain criteria.

Process Changes

In addition to the substantive provisions outlined above, the reform bill also proposes several changes to the immigration process itself. These changes aim to streamline procedures, enhance efficiency, and improve the overall experience for applicants.

Nursing Abroad US VOTE POLITICS BIDEN 1 1711689148572 1711689186217Digitization and Electronic Adjudication

One of the key process changes proposed in the bill is the centralization of digitization for electronic adjudication. By transitioning to a more digitized system, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) aims to increase its ability to redistribute and align workloads based on resources and priorities, potentially reducing processing times and backlogs.

Online Filing and Premium Processing Expansion

The reform bill encourages applicants to file forms online whenever possible, recognizing the benefits of electronic filing in terms of efficiency and convenience. Additionally, the bill proposes expanding premium processing options for certain immigration forms, allowing applicants to pay an additional fee for expedited processing.

This expansion of premium processing services aims to provide a faster track for those willing to pay the associated fees, potentially alleviating some of the burden on the regular processing channels.

Fee Payment Process Changes

To streamline the fee payment process, the reform bill introduces changes that allow applicants to mail checks or credit card authorization forms to field offices instead of making in-person appointments. This measure is expected to save time and money for both applicants and USCIS, reducing the need for office visits and improving overall efficiency.

Lockbox Filing and Centralized Intake

The reform bill also proposes changes to the filing locations for certain employment-based applications, such as the concurrent filing of Forms I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service), I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker), and I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) . These forms will be filed at a USCIS lockbox instead of service centers, allowing for centralized intake and digitization, further streamlining the process.


The proposed US Immigration Reform Bill represents a significant step towards addressing the long-standing issues plaguing the nation’s immigration system, particularly the lengthy green card wait times. By increasing the annual cap on green cards, streamlining the asylum process, and introducing measures to support legal immigration, the bill aims to create a more efficient and fair system for applicants.

However, it is important to note that the bill is not without its limitations and criticisms. While it addresses certain aspects of the immigration system, it falls short in providing a comprehensive solution for undocumented immigrants and addressing the root causes of migration from Central America.

As the bill navigates the legislative process, it is crucial for policymakers to carefully consider the potential impacts on various stakeholders and strive to strike a balance between national security concerns, economic interests, and humanitarian considerations.

Ultimately, the success of the reform bill will be measured by its ability to create a more efficient, fair, and humane immigration system that upholds the values of the United States while addressing the complex challenges of the 21st century.

Click here to learn more about the US Immigration Reform Bill and its potential impact on your immigration journey.

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