When Nebraska residents consider immigrants, they may first think about people who come to the U.S. without a visa. People legally immigrate to the U.S. every year, though. A proposed immigration reform may affect how many legal immigrants are accepted into the country each year.

Members of the U.S. Senate have proposed a new immigration bill, the Cotton-Perdue bill. Under this bill, permanent residents or citizens would not be able to sponsor adult siblings and children for immigration. Minor children and spouses would still be eligible for sponsorship. Additionally, the bill could potentially eliminate the diversity lottery and lower the number of legally admitted refugees. Employment-based immigration could also be affected. While the number of available visas would remain the same, some policy analysts have said that high-skilled workers may encounter more difficulties coming to the U.S., as they would no longer qualify for sponsorship through family members already living in the country.

The U.S. typically accepts four kinds of legal immigrants each year. Immigrants sponsored by relatives made up roughly 800,000 of the people who received visas in 2016 and asylum seekers and refugees accounted for 160,000. The diversity lottery brought in 50,000 people, while 140,000 received sponsorship from their employers. Most of the people who recently immigrated were college graduates. A total of almost 1.2 million people came to the U.S. legally in 2016.

When people come to the U.S. for a job, they may sometimes be overwhelmed by the kinds of visas available. People may want to speak to an attorney so they can understand the process and the specific documentation they need. 

Source: The Atlantic, “The Purpose of This From the Beginning Has Been to Cut Legal Immigration,” Ronald Brownstein, Jan. 18, 2018