White House supports ‘EAGLE Act’
23rd Dec, 2022
Recently, the White House supported the US Congress to pass legislation (EAGLE Act of 2022), whose aim is to eliminate the per-country quota on issuing green cards.
What is the EAGLE Act of 2022?
- It is known asThe Immigration Bill, HR 3648.
- Eagle stands for Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act, 2022.
- It focuses on hiring immigrants based on merit, not their birthplace.
- It was originally introduced in House on June 1st, 2021.
- It was later re-introduced in 2022.
The goal of the Act:
- To allow US employers to “focus on hiring immigrants based on merit, not their birthplace, by eliminating the “per country” limitationon employment-based immigrant visas (green cards).”
- During the transition period, some visas would be put aside for:
- Physical therapists and nurses
- employment-based immigrants and their family members who are not currently in the United States
- Individuals waiting in the immigrant visa backlog: The act includes provisions to allow individuals who have been waiting in the immigrant visa backlog for two years to file their green card applications.
Impact on less-populated countries:
- To reduce the impact of this on less-populated countries, the legislation plans to phase out the per-country caps over the course of nine years.
Benefits of the act
- It will benefit the US economyby allowing American employers to focus on hiring immigrants based on their merit, not their birthplace.
- The bill will be advantageous for Indian job-seekerswho currently rely on temporary visas or await green cards to work in the US.
- Faster processingof the citizenship application will also help immigrant workers to get protection from exploitation
Resistance from Americans:
- Several Americans have expressed their scepticism about the Act and have shown concern:
- This would encourage more foreigners to come to the US for residency.
- The low-wage and low-skilled workers would get Green Cards.
How will the legislation benefit Indian Americans?
- Backlogged Indian workers face an impossible wait of nine decadesif they all could remain in the line
- More than 200,000 petitions filed for Indians could expireas a result of the workers dying of old age before they receive green cards.
- With the EAGLE Act 2022, the per-country cap would be removed, which may expedite the petitions for those applying for employment-based green cards.
Benefits of having a green card:
- it provides a pathway to citizenship
- a cardholder can sponsor immediate family members for the same card
- easy access to US social security system
- makes travel to and from the country easier
- a cardholder can choose to live anywhere
- freedom in terms of career opportunities
- a cardholder can also have some amount of engagement in the political process of the country
What is a green card and what are its benefits?
- It is officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, a green card, issued to immigrants, that allows them to live and work in the United States permanently.
How long does it take Green Card holders to become US citizens?
- Once issued, a Green Card is valid for ten years.
- A Green Card holder can apply for US citizenship after five years of permanent residency.
- They need to renew their Green Card before applying for citizenship if it is set to expire in less than six months or has already expired.