Everything you need to know about The Build Back Better Act and Immigration Impact

New ways to obtain a Green Card and the associated fees… On October 28, 2021, President Joe Biden announced the framework of the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) to strengthen the middle class, create millions of good-paying jobs, take action against climate change, expand healthcare, and even improve and reform the immigration system. House Democrats passed the $1.75 trillion bill on November 19, and now the Senate will decide whether to approve or reject the legislation.

The BBBA contains the following key immigration reform provisions that benefit millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. The proposed law aims to reclaim unused visa numbers and allow more family-based and employment-based applicants to obtain adjustment of status in order to improve green card backlogs.

Lawful Permanent Residence

Under Section 60001 of the BBBA, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) would be updated to allow documented and undocumented foreign nationals apply for “adjustment of status” to obtain lawful permanent residency (LPR) after paying a $1,500 fee and completing a background check with a medical examination.

The following individuals would be eligible for LPR:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients (i.e., Dreamers)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders
  • Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) recipients
  • Essential workers (e.g., farmworkers, manufacturing workers, healthcare, transportation, energy, public works, etc.)

There are separate requirements for eligibility and physical presence (or how long you have been living in the U.S.).

Recapture of Unused Immigrant Visa Numbers

Under Section 60002, the updated INA would “recapture” unused family-based and employment-based visas from the Fiscal Year 1992 and afterward. In addition, Diversity Visas that were not issued or haven’t been used since FY 2017 would also be recaptured.

There are currently millions of foreign nationals on the waiting list for green cards and each year there is a specific cap on the number of visas given. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to hundreds of thousands of unused green card vacancies.

Adjustment of Status

Under Section 60003, the updated INA would allow family-based and employment-based applicants (along with their spouse and children) to apply for adjustment of status immediately after paying a $1,500 fee (for the main applicant) and $250 (for each beneficiary of the main applicant).

Additionally, this provision would create a waiver from the annual cap of family-based and employment-based visas per country for individuals who either (1) have filed an application for adjustment of status or (2) have a priority date that is at least two years before the date of the application for the per-country cap waiver.

This waiver is associated with the supplemental fee based on the following categories:

  • Family-based applicants – If a person filed for adjustment of status based on an approved I-130, he/she must pay a $2,500 supplemental fee. This category includes (I) married and unmarried sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen with an approved I-130; and (ii) spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents with an approved I-130.
  • Employment-based applicants – If a person filed for adjustment of status based on an approved I-140 petition in the EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 category, he/she must pay a $5,000 supplemental fee
  • Immigrant investor-based applicants – If a person filed for adjustment of status based on an approved EB-5 petition, he/she must pay a $50,000 supplemental fee. However, it is unclear how the waiver applies to those who are part of the Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program.

Additional Supplement Fees

Under Section 60004, there will be additional supplemental fees for immigrant visa petitions (in addition to the supplemental fees under Section 60003), such as:

  • Family-based applicants – $100 supplemental fee for family-based visa petitions for: (1) married and unmarried sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and (2) spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents.
  • Employment-based applicants – $800 supplemental fee for EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 immigrant visa petitions.
  • Immigrant investor-based applicants – $15,000 supplemental fee.

USCIS Supplemental Funding

Under Section 60005, an additional $2.8 billion will be disbursed to USCIS in order to handle and approve the applications associated with the provisions mentioned above, as well as reduce the massive immigration case backlogs.

If you are interested in applying for a green card in Greer, SC, call Colón Law Firm at (864) 697-2870 or fill out our online contact form today to speak with our experienced immigration attorneys. Serving clients across Greenville and Spartanburg counties.