Lofgren & Honda Applaud New Rules to Ease Green Card Process
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Mike Honda (D-Calif.) applauded new procedures announced yesterday to allow employment and family-based immigrants to start their green card process earlier. The new procedures, issued by the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will allow tens of thousands of would-be immigrants to begin benefitting from important rights and protections that are afforded to Lawful Permanent Residents.
"This will be a welcome change, especially for so many highly-skilled immigrants who are trapped in years-long visa queues," said Lofgren and Honda. "But it cannot change the fundamental problems in our immigration system. While immigrants will be able to start the green card process earlier, they will not be able to complete it any sooner. Congress must act to increase the number of visas available – because the vast majority of those waiting for employment-based green cards are already living and working in the United States, contributing to our economy and paying taxes. It simply makes no sense to trap them in immigration limbo for years or even decades while waiting for green cards because of arbitrary and outdated visa quotas."
As a result of this rule change, USCIS will now use filing procedures similar to those used by the State Department for individuals applying abroad. The practical effect for most immigrants is that they can file for green cards a year or more earlier than they otherwise would have been able to. For certain applicants from India - including those with Master's Degrees - the news is even better, as they now can begin the green card process more than 5 years earlier than previously allowed.
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