Durbin co-sponsors legislation to eliminate green card backlog


Chuck Kennedy/KRT

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill/) listens to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, January 24, 2006. Durbin on Wednesday introduced legislation to eliminate the green card backlog in the United States.

Kristina Karisch, Print Managing Editor

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) jointly introduced legislation to eliminate the family and employment backlog for green cards by increasing the number of cards issued.

Durbin, the Senate Democratic Whip and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, co-sponsored the act with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). According to a news release from Durbin’s office, there are close to four million individuals on the State Department’s immigrant visa waiting list. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of immigrants already in the U.S. are also waiting for green card approval.

Current legislation only makes 226,000 family and 140,000 employment green cards available annually. Children and spouses of current lawful permanent residents “count against these numbers,” the release said, which further restricts the number of available green cards.

“One of the most serious problems in our broken immigration system is that there are not nearly enough green cards available each year,” Durbin said in the release. “As a result, immigrants are stuck in crippling backlogs for many years. The solution to this backlog is clear: increase the number of green cards. I’m proud to introduce this commonsense legislation to finally eliminate the family and employment green card backlog.”

The proposed legislation — called the “Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families,” or RELIEF Act— seeks to eliminate the family and employment backlog over five years and classify the spouses and children of LPRs as immediate relatives. It also seeks to protect children who are “aging out” of their ability to claim LPR status based on their parents’ application, as well as lifting country caps on awarded green cards.

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