Our immigration system should reward anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules. For the sake of our economy and our security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient.


The President’s proposal attracts the best minds to America by providing visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here and helping the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, rather than take their skills to other countries. The President’s proposal will also reunite families in a timely and humane manner.

The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.

Progress Streamlining Legal Immigration

Reducing time U.S. citizens are separated from immediate family members. The President understands the challenges facing immigrant families. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has established a new process to reduce the time U.S. citizens are separated from certain immediate relatives while those family members go through the process of becoming legal immigrants to the United States. Under the process, spouses and children of U.S. citizens would be able to apply for a provisional waiver of unlawful presence while still in the United States if they meet certain criteria.

Providing greater protections for farm workers and their families.

By reforming the H-2A temporary agricultural program, the Department of Labor (DOL) has strengthened worker protections and requirements for employers who are seeking to bring non-immigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. Through this effort, DOL is ensuring that the H-2A temporary agricultural program is only available to employers with a legitimate temporary need for non-immigrant workers and protecting foreign farm workers and domestic workers from exploitation. As part of DOL’s continuing commitment to customer service, DOL has also published an H-2A Employer Handbook which provides additional guidance to employers and established an H-2A Ombudsman Program whose primary purpose is to facilitate resolution of concerns among both agricultural employers and workers.

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