Bipartisan legislation would reform per-country caps and help clear backlogs
Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hicknelooper (D-CO) have re-introduced the bipartisan Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act in the Senate (S. 3291). In the House of Representatives, Representatives Rich McCormick (R-GA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) have introduced the Immigration Visa Efficiency and Security (IVES) Act (H.R. 6542).
These bipartisan bills would eliminate the per-country cap on employment-based green cards (with some guardrails) and would raise the per-country cap for family-based green cards to 15%.
The bills are adapted from earlier legislation called the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act,” bipartisan legislation that had previously passed both the House and the Senate with unanimous consent, but was never reconciled to be sent to the President for signature. The updated EAGLE Act and IVES Act include numerous bipartisan compromises and amendments negotiated in previous Congresses, meaning that the bills should enjoy broad bipartisan support in this session, too.
The EAGLE Act and IVES Act would reserve some green cards and establish 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 bills also include 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 bills ensure 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 and the IVES Act also introduce 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 Additionally, the IVES Act would implement new wage requirements for H-1B visas, and restrict issuance of H-1B visas to nationals of “foreign adversary countries” in employment related to “matters of vital national interest.”