THE STORY: Congress is considering whether to remove caps for green cards based on immigrants’ country of origin. The move would speed up the application process for hundreds of thousands of Indian and Chinese immigrants awaiting green cards.
THE CONTEXT: As it stands in the U.S., there are a certain number of green cards allotted to each country. While immigration officers can reassign green cards from countries that haven’t met their caps, the cap system still creates outsized wait times for immigrants from countries that have a large number of applicants. For example, green card applicants from India currently have to wait around 10 years for approval, whereas immigrants from other countries could be approved in two years or less.
WHAT’S NEXT: The move to get rid of country caps for green cards has been discussed in Congress for years, but it could become a reality now that a Republican congressman from Kansas has included the idea in an appropriations bill. The bill will likely face scrutiny, with Trump saying he wants it to include funds for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. Congress won’t consider the bill until after the midterm elections in November.
Read further in this article from The Boston Globe.
THE STORY: A new study found that hiring highly skilled immigrants is more strongly associated with innovation than investing in research and development.
THE CONTEXT: In a recent National Bureau of Economic Research study, researchers set out to examine what effect highly skilled immigration has on innovation in the U.S. They measured the impact of workers with H-1B visas on “product reallocation” which is a measure of how many new products enter the economy, and how many old ones leave it. The researchers found that companies which hired H-1B workers were more closely associated with higher product reallocation than even investing in research and development.
WHAT’S NEXT: With the Trump administration making it more difficult for immigrants to secure H-1B visas, studies like this highlight the effect the administration’s policies could have on American innovation.
THE STORY: The Trump administration is enacting new rules that will deny green cards to certain immigrants who rely on public benefits.
THE CONTEXT: In a significant change to U.S. immigration practices, the U.S. will now consider reliance on public assistance as a “heavily weighed negative factor” when deciding whether to grant immigrants green cards. By considering whether immigrants are receiving any form of public funds, from food stamps to discounted prescription drugs, the U.S. is effectively discouraging low-income immigrants from living and working in America. Immigration activists worry that immigrants will stop receiving crucial public assistance in order to secure green cards. The Trump administration says the rule change will affect around 382,000 people a year.
WHAT’S NEXT: This rule change comes less than two months before the midterm elections, where the control of the House and Senate will be decided. The rule change could be part of political move to get Republicans to vote. Trump’s main advisor on immigration, Stephen Miller, has said that cracking down on immigrants could help deliver victories for Republicans. In order for the rule to be changed again, it would have to go through the Department of Homeland Security, which under the Trump administration is unlikely to shift its stance.