HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SET TO VOTE ON EAGLE ACT NEXT WEEK
The Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act of 2022 has received bipartisan support and is scheduled to be voted on soon. The Act aims to eliminate per-country limits on employment-based green cards, raise annual limits on family-based green cards, and to allow immigrants who have an approved immigrant visa petition and have waited at least two years for a visa to obtain lawful permanent resident status. There are also several H-1B specific components to the act, such as expanding DOL's authority to review and investigate H-1B applications for fraud and misrepresentation and requiring the Department of Labor to maintain a publicly accessible database where an employer must post certain information concerning the open position. Under the act, employers seeking to employ H-1B workers may not advertise that a position is only open to H-1B applicants or that H-1B workers are preferred. Similarly, certain employers will be prohibited from having more than half of their employees as nonimmigrant visa holders.
FY 2022 SEES THIRD HIGHEST ANNUAL RECORD FOR IMMIGRANT NATURALIZATIONS
According to USCIS, in the 12-month period that ended Sept. 30, 2022, nearly 1 million adult immigrants were naturalized as American citizens. This is the third highest number in recorded U.S. history, with slightly over 1 million immigrants naturalizing in 1996 and 2008. Mexico, India, the Philippines, Cuba and the Dominican Republic are the five countries from which the highest numbers of newly naturalized citizens were born. USCIS attributes this rise in naturalizations to the elimination of some bureaucratic barriers that were put in place by the Trump administration that significantly lengthened and convoluted the process.
REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS SEEK TO REMOVE ELIGIBLITY FOR AFGHAN INTERPRETERS WHO WORKED WITH U.S. FORCES FROM THE SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM
Historically, Afghan interpreters who provided services to the U.S. armed forces during the 20-year-long war have been protected under a special provision in the Special Immigrant Visa program. However, the resettlement terms have been stricken from the Senate version of the National Defense Spending bill and Democrats and advocacy groups are working towards safeguarding these protections. Since the Taliban takeover last year, approximately 74,000 Afghans have entered the United States. About half of them have applied for or qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa. While the future of the program is not secured, Afghan immigrants who apply by December 31, 2023 will still be considered.