November 29, 2023

Immigration Green Card

Immigration Is Good For You

Sens. Cramer, Hickenlooper Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Allowing Merit-Based Immigration

3 min read
The Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act eliminates arbitrary per-country limits on...

The Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment
Act eliminates arbitrary per-country limits on employment-based visas.

– U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) introduced the
Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act of 2022, a
bill which will benefit the U.S. economy by allowing American employers to
focus on hiring immigrants based on their merit, not their birthplace. The
EAGLE Act phases out the 7% per-country limit on employment-based immigrant
visas and raises the 7% per-country limit on family-sponsored visas to 15%.

no secret our immigration system is broken and, given current workforce
challenges, it’s high time to implement a skills-based immigration system. In
North Dakota, we rely on thousands of highly-skilled immigrants, especially
when it comes to rural healthcare and software developers. These individuals
play an important role in our economy and our communities, but because of
arbitrary per country caps, their legal status is constantly in jeopardy. Our
bill fixes this issue by instituting a merit-based system regardless of their
country of origin without increasing the number of employment-based visas we
already allow,” said Senator Cramer.

is hurting for workers. Fixing our immigration system will help fix our
workforce shortage and spur economic growth. Removing arbitrary caps based on
where an immigrant is born should be part of the solution,” said Senator

“The EAGLE Act is a win-win for the American people. Similar
provisions passed both bodies of Congress last year illustrating broad,
bipartisan support among members. This bill transitions the allocation of
employment based green cards to a first-come, first served application while
not unduly burdening foreign nationals from countries that were accustomed to
special treatment and having no wait time at all to receive green cards due to
discriminatory per country limits. It ensures that in exchange for changing the
green card system to become fairer for all international applicants, American
workers are made the top-priority for hiring by all U.S. companies such that no
foreign worker can undercut an American worker for a U.S. job. We are
incredibly grateful to Senator Cramer and Senator Hickenlooper for leading the
bill and urge the it’s swift passage,” 
said Aman Kapoor, Co-Founder and President, Immigration

for bill text.


employment-based visa system provides permanent residence (or “green cards”) to
individuals whose work contributes to U.S. economic growth and enhances our
competitive advantage. To qualify, a sponsoring employer generally must
advertise and prove that they are unable to find a qualified U.S. worker to
fill the position. Thus, although America’s employment-based visa system starts
out as “merit-based,” what happens next has nothing to do with merit or
skills—visas are allocated based on the intending immigrant’s country of birth.

Fiscal Year 2021, 66,781 employment-based immigrant visas went unused despite
many countries having qualified applicants, highlighting the inefficiency of a
country of origin based limit on visas.

95% of employment-based immigrants currently live and work in the United States
on temporary visas while waiting for a visa to become available. Some
of these individuals remain in temporary status for many years, if not decades,
because of the caps applied to their country of nationality. The new, phased-in
system, established in the bipartisan EAGLE Act, would help ease the backlog
for those who wait the longest.

December 2020, the Senate passed
Senator Cramer’s Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act to lift
the per-country caps on high-skilled immigrants.

to the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, the EAGLE Act:

  • includes
    a longer nine-year transition period to ensure that no countries are
    excluded from receiving visas while the per-country caps are phased out;
  • strengthens
    the H-1B temporary visa program; and
  • provides
    an option for individuals who have been waiting in the immigrant visa
    backlog for two years to file a green card application, although the
    application cannot be approved until a visa becomes available.

February of 2019, Senator Cramer brought Debjyoti Dwivedy (“DD”), a North
Dakota State University alumnus and Vice President of Immigration Voice, a
group which advocates for these bills, as his guest to the State of the Union.


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