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Bill aims to limit availability of immigrant visas

Many people immigrate to the United States each year come to Riverside County to live and find work. Immigration has become a hot-button issue recently as the new federal administration has aimed to restrict the ability of certain people to travel to the United States. So far much of the focus has been on securing the nation’s borders and deporting undocumented immigrants. Now, a bill has been proposed in the Senate that would limit the number of green cards and visas available each year.

According to U.S. News & World Report, two Republican senators have introduced what is being called the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act. If passed, the bill would reduce immigration by 40 percent in one year and then an additional 10 percent over the following decade. Supporters claim that limiting immigration will strengthen the job market for existing U.S. citizens.

The bill would reduce the number of refugees allowed in the country to 50,000 per year. It would also restrict green cards for family members of current citizens and permanent residents, as well as get rid of the lottery system used by the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Opponents argue that the legislation would keep families apart and that immigration can actually help increase job growth.

Currently, 140,000 employment-based visas and 226,000 family-sponsored visas are available each year, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. There are also sub-categories of each type of visa and only a certain percentage are issued for each category. In addition, if not all visas are fulfilled in a given year, some extra numbers may be available the following year. Whether the bill gains support and momentum remains to be seen.

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