A proposed change to the registry law section of U.S. immigration law could allow hundreds of thousands to become green card holders to apply for permanent residence cards. This is the section that allows certain immigrants who have been present in the United States for a long time. Section 249 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, known as registry, gives the Secretary of Homeland Security the discretion to “register” certain individuals for lawful permanent resident status (a green card) if they have been in the country since a certain date and meet other requirements. The proposed new rolling green card registry date change could let 7-8 million people apply to adjust their status to permanent resident.
Currently, to qualify for an adjustment of status under the registry process, an immigrant must have lived in the United States since January 1, 1972 – over 50 years ago. The proposed Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929 could create a path to citizenship for nearly 8 million documented and undocumented immigrants by updating the existing registry law to change the current registry date.
Under the proposed changes, the laws and qualifications for a green card would not change: only the eligibility cut-off date. Qualified immigrants would need to prove
On July 20, 2022, 46 House Democrats proposed that applicants must have lived in the U.S. for 7 years to become eligible under the registry law. Thus, creating a rolling registry that allows new people to apply every year. Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, the bill’s author, said the registry had been part of immigration law for almost 100 years, and Congress has failed to update it. The most recent cut-off date update was in 1986 during the Reagan administration.
“For decades, immigrants who contribute significantly to our communities and our economy, have been relegated to a legal limbo,” said Rep. Lofgren. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to provide these immigrants with the stability and certainty they and their families deserve. Updating this historically bipartisan provision to provide lawful permanent resident status to immigrants who have been a part of our communities for years will make our immigration system fairer and our country stronger.”
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