Although the split in Congress has dashed hopes for any comprehensive immigration reform, there are now a number of bills pending in the House that would make targeted changes to certain troublesome aspects of immigration law.
Some of these bills have garnered bipartisan support, and in some cases there are Republican and Democrat versions that are similar in objective, providing some basis for optimism about limited reforms in 2012.
First, there are a number of bills relating to agricultural workers that would facilitate easier lawful hiring of temporary agricultural workers. Such legislation could authorize and create H-2C nonimmigrant visas for workers having foreign residences that they have no intention of abandoning, and who wish to come to the U.S. for a period of months to perform certain agricultural services.
Second, there are competing pieces of legislation aimed at the elimination of archaic, per-country numerical caps for employment-based immigrants and the expansion of outdated per-country limitations on family-sponsored immigrants as well. Because there seems to be a policy agreement among legislators on both sides of the aisle, it is possible that Congress may reach some agreement on process and approach to reform in this area.
Finally, there is bipartisan sponsorship and support for H.R. 2763, which would extend by two years the eligibility for benefits under the supplemental social security income program for certain aliens and victims of human trafficking. There are a number of other bills to extend aid and protection to trafficking victims as well.
We will be keeping an eye on federal legislation and regulations pertinent to immigration for our readers, and posting pertinent news on this blog.
In the meantime, if you are in need of counsel for yourself and/or your family members on the subject of immigration law, please do not hesitate to contact our office for an appointment at (847) 564-0712. You can also check out the pertinent section of our Website for more information about how we might assist you.