With Congress in recess, a quick state of play for immigration legislation this session:
· America COMPETES (CHIPS) Act: Passed the House this February with several immigration provisions, but Senate passed its version without them; signed by President Biden in early August. The House version included an exemption to the annual green card limits and backlogs for STEM PhDs and masters degree recipients in “critical industries” and permanent residence for foreign-born entrepreneurs. Republican opposition to the STEM PhD provisions kept immigration out of the final bill.
· National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): A must-pass bill that funds the U.S. Armed Forces, passed the House in July and contains provisions to aid “documented Dreamers,” PhD STEM students, dual intent for Afghan refugee students, and other provisions for Afghans. To be debated in the Senate in the coming months.
· Afghan Adjustment Act: On August 9, a bipartisan, bicameral group introduced the AAA in both houses of Congress. Creates a pathway to permanent residence for about 76,000 Afghans evacuated to the United States following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last year. These evacuees were allowed to enter the United States via “humanitarian parole”—a temporary status that lasts only one or two years.