Immigrants from all over the world are drawn to America in search of a better life. But U.S. immigration is a dynamic, ever-changing field that they need to traverse. A few current developments are worth mentioning in this regard. Let’s take a look at this roundup of what’s happening.
Firstly, on the subject of the subject of entrepreneurship and immigration to America, New American Economy, a self-described bipartisan research and advocacy organization, just released its annual New American Fortune 500 report, showing that immigrants and their children are behind some of America’s biggest companies. "Immigrants are as critical to our Fortune 500 companies as they are to our economy overall," said Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of New American Economy." Some of the key findings in the report were: a) Almost half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants, b) These companies employ almost 14 million people, c) these companies generate trillions in annual revenue, and d) New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida lead the way. In this regard, the new U.S. International Entrepreneur program was recently renewed. It holds possibilities at least for some entrepreneurs who want to come to America.
But not all immigrants are high grade super achievers that build Fortune 500 companies. After all, apart from entrepreneurs, there are EB-5 investors, H1B skilled workers, family-based immigrants and refugees as well. What’s happening in these areas?
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has cosponsored a bipartisan bill to renew the EB-5 program in Congress. ... [+]
EB-5 Program Initiative
Regarding EB-5 investor immigrants, the key issue is the potential imminent expiry of the regional center program on June 30th, 2021. Congressional gridlock, in part due to obstacles like cloture and the lack of term limits, are blocking immigration reform in general, and making renewals like the EB-5 program in particular, very difficult. Nonetheless, there is hope that the Grassley and Leahy EB-5 Integrity and Reform bill could carry the day. We are in the final stretch and discussions are ongoing.
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H1B Visa Program Developments
Regarding H1B work visas, the Trump era restrictive changes to the program related to selection priorities being based on highest wages have been abandoned. There is likely to be a second draw under the lottery this year, potentially in July. As vaccinations spread, the Covid restrictions and reopening of U.S. Consulates to full capacity promises better days ahead. Something that will be helpful in processing such cases, and indeed immigration cases in general, is that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has rescinded a July 2018 Trump-era memo that permitted immigration officers to deny benefit requests like a visa application or an extension application outright, instead of first seeking further evidence or issuing a notice of intent to deny.
In reference to family immigration, the Biden administration recently announced it would expand sponsorship eligibility of immigrant parents living in the U.S. with pending applications for asylum to sponsor their children. U visa applicants who are victims of serious crimes and who are assisting law enforcement will also be able to sponsor children while their U visa applications are pending. Legal guardians of children in Central America will also be allowed to file petitions.
As for refugees, recently there has been a historic increase in the number of such migrants trying to cross the U.S. border. Indeed, the number of backlogged immigration cases in the U.S. is rising each month with far more new cases being added than completed, according to new data published by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonprofit research organization that is part of Syracuse University. “In general, the number of cases from DHS into the court system just continues to dramatically outpace what immigration judges are able to complete,” said TRAC lead researcher Austin Kocher. That has left immigration judges trying to operate in a system that they say is reaching a breaking point. There's a backlog of 1.3 million asylum cases, and migrants keep coming. As one judge put it, "We are holding death penalty cases in a traffic court setting."
Trying to reduce some of the stress involved, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a new policy saying immigration judges should cease following the Trump-era rules that made it tough for immigrants who faced domestic or gang violence to win asylum in the United States. The move could make it easier for them to win their cases for humanitarian protection and was widely celebrated by immigrant advocates.