August 04, 2017
President Trump, whose administration has overseen a sharp reduction in the percentage of H-1B visas approved, endorsed a bill intended to drastically reduce yearly legal immigration levels and refocus the green card process on merit. Sponsored by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Purdue (R-GA), the measure would mandate that green card applicants be considered "based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, record of extraordinary achievement, and entrepreneurial initiative," according to a statement from Sen. Cotton's office. Conversely, the bill targets programs that President Trump claims have tended to admit low-skill immigrants, such as those extending green cards to extended family members of legal U.S. residents. The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate as Republican members are widely divided on immigration which, for the moment, seems to take a back seat to other priorities. Meanwhile, the Trump administration appears to be accomplishing one of its goals in undercutting the H-1B petition process. So far this year, applications have been approved at a clip of 58 percent, down from the considerably higher rate of 87 percent in 2016. President Trump's opposition to the program does not seem to have deterred petitioners, however, as already this year over 300,000 visa petitions and extensions have been submitted. Comparatively, in all of 2016, 399,349 were submitted.