Democrats’ Plan to Overhaul Legal Immigration Focuses on Green Card Backlog


While Democrats scurry to include safeguards for millions of illegal immigrants in a massive social-security bill, Dr. Pranav Singh is focusing on a less-publicized proposal to alleviate the green-card backlog that forced him to abandon his family and career in Iowa.

Dr. Singh could no longer take the ambiguity of coming to the United States on a passport that may be terminated if his profession changed after almost a decade of treating patients with respiratory ailments.


Dr. Singh, who returned to India this summer after years of bureaucratic dithering, said, “I’ve got 15 years in the US and I’m still considered a visa holder or alien.” “Can you take that kind of abuse for long?”

On Thursday, President Biden unveiled a draught of the latest version of the social policy and climate bill, which included an immigration provision that could help Dr. Singh and thousands and thousands of other families and immigrant laborer, but only if it can get past the Senatorial lawmaker, who has strict rules about what could be included in the package.

The idea would free up hundreds of thousands of green cards that have been unused for decades due to past administrations’ failure to use them, making them available to immigrants who are presently stuck in the backlog.

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The amount of green cards awarded each year in the United States is capped per nation, which means that applicants from countries like India, where many individuals seek to work in the United States, should expect to wait years.

Those unused green cards would be “recaptured” and made accessible to applicants under the new rule. Foreigners who have been on waiting lists for legal status would be allowed to pay additional fees to jump up the line.

Mr. Biden’s social-safety-net bill is advancing through Congress under a special procedure known as reconciliation, which shields it from filibustering. Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, has repeatedly struck down proposals to incorporate immigration legislation in it. Such laws can only contain very restricted elements that have a direct impact on government finances, and the parliamentarian earlier determined that two other immigration program failed to satisfy that criteria.

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