The bipartisan EAGLE Act would reform per-country caps and help clear backlogs
Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and John Curtis (R-UT) have introduced the bipartisan Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act (H.R. 3648) in the House of Representatives; Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hicknelooper (D-CO) introduced the Senate companion. The EAGLE Act would eliminate the per-country cap on employment-based green cards and would raise the per-country cap for family-based green cards to 15%.
The bill is an updated version of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (H.R. 1044), bipartisan legislation that passed both the House and the Senate last year with unanimous consent, but which was never reconciled to be sent to the President for signature. The new version includes numerous bipartisan compromises and amendments negotiated in the previous Congress, meaning that the bill should enjoy broad bipartisan support in this session, too.
The EAGLE Act reserves some green cards and establishes a complex transition period before the employment-based per-country cap is completely eliminated, to ensure that immigrants from lower admission countries do not face significantly increased wait times as a result of the bill.1
The bill also includes language to protect families and address challenges brought on by the backlogs, including allowing individuals to file for adjustment of status before a green card is available to them if they have waited two years or more for an available visa. Filing early to adjust would allow individuals to secure travel authorization and portable employment authorization so that they could change employers. The bill ensures that children remain eligible regardless of their age when the visa becomes available, helping keep families together.
In addition to per-country cap modernization, the EAGLE Act also introduces new oversight and reporting requirements, and new fees for the H-1B highly- skilled temporary worker program, along with increased protections for U.S. workers in both the temporary and permanent resident immigration application processes.2