Congresswoman Shalala Introduces Legislation to Increase Number of Green Cards Available, Eliminate the Backlog, and Keep Families Together


Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) introduced the Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act, a bill that would eliminate the family and employment green card backlog by increasing the number of green cards available for those purposes. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) is an original cosponsor of the bill.

The Relief Act is the House companion to S.2603, a bill filed earlier this year in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT).

“For years now, businesses in my district and across America have been hamstrung when trying to attract the world’s best talent because of our outdated family and employment-based green card policies” said Shalala. “This bill is a commonsense solution that will keep families together, streamline our immigration processes, and make America more competitive in our increasingly globalized world.”

“In Florida, the green card backlog breaks up too many families, sidetracks too many careers and constrains too many businesses to leave unaddressed. These outdated policies benefit no one, and this bill would modernize this flawed system,” Wasserman Schultz said. “The RELIEF Act would make America more competitive and help keep the families of our friends and co-workers together.”

The RELEIF Act would eliminate the family and employment-based green card backlog within five years. Additionally, it would help keep American families together by reclassifying spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (LPR) to be exempt from annual green card limits, protect “aging out” children who qualify for LPR status based on a parent’s immigration petition, and lift country caps on the number of available green cards.

Nearly four million future Americans are on the immigrant visa waiting list, in addition to hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the United States who are also waiting for green cards.  However, under current law only 226,000 family green cards and 140,000 employment green cards are available annually.

You can find the full text of the bill here.

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  1. The Relief Act is just a public relations ploy that has no chance of becoming law. The Democrats know that until the Southern Border is secure and there is real immigration reform, their proposals are just ideas on paper. Sounds good to some, but it is just a re-election gimmick.


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