While comprehensive immigration reform is unlikely in 2023, several smaller changes could affect your eligibility to apply or the time it takes to process your application. The chance for immigration reform is low now that Republicans control the House. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is revising its fee schedule, among other new challenges.
Immigration Reform in Congress
With the flip of the House to Republican control in 2023, it is unlikely that immigration reform will come this year. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the new House Speaker, has stated that border security takes precedence in any immigration bills.
Both Republicans and Democrats have concerns over border security, with Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) drafting a bipartisan immigration reform bill to address border issues and create a pathway to citizenship for DACA immigrants last year. The bill failed to reach a vote, stifling the chance for immigration reform in 2023.
Backlog Improvements for Visa and Citizenship Petitions
Several applications for different visa types are stuck in processing, creating a bottleneck for new applications. The State Department plans to waive in-person interviews for some visas to speed up processing, as well as distribute immigration petitions and cases throughout its consular posts to decrease backlogs.
The USCIS will also streamline several of its processes, including expanding its offerings for premium processing to more visa and immigration application types, simplifying forms and application documents, and reducing or eliminating some biometrics requirements for some petition types. These changes will improve processing for naturalization, green cards, and work permits.
Fee Schedule Changes
USCIS hasn’t changed its fee schedule since 2016 and largely self-funds its operations using fees collected from immigration applications. Its proposed fees for 2023 keep fees affordable for low-income immigrants, while only increasing citizenship application fees slightly.
Fees for green-card applicants and employment-based visas would increase significantly under the USCIS 2023 proposal. Green card (permanent resident) application costs would increase to $3,500 from the current cost of $1,760. USCIS would also begin collecting fees for other applications that were previously free, such as work and travel permits.
Other applications for employee or investor immigrants will likely see an increase in required fees. USCIS will consider public comments on its proposed fee increases before issuing a final adjustment of fees, likely sometime in March.
Public Charge Self-Reporting
Green card applicants will begin seeing a new public charge section on their applications, denoting whether they could require government benefits in the future. If applicants check “yes” on Form I-485, they must answer further questions regarding their income, education, household size, and how they would use certain government benefits.
Turn to an Experienced Immigration Attorney To Continue Your Path Forward
Whether you’re a DACA immigrant hoping for an immigration reform bill that addresses your remaining in the U.S. or someone seeking admission as a student, employee, investor, or other category, there isn’t much chance for immigration reform this year.
Our legal team can help you understand which immigration solution best suits your situation. Contact us at the American Dream® Law Office today to schedule a strategy session in English, Spanish, or Arabic.