S. 2603 Relief Act (Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families)
introduced by Senator Durbin, Leahy, and Hirono, in the Senate of the United States, is believed
to bring in massive changes in the immigration law specifically concerning legal immigration.
Relief Act to other bills HR 1044 and S. 386 in the House of Representative and Senate
respectively, introduces the following changes:
1. It foregoes a per-country cap. It also eliminates the employment and family-based green
card backlog over a period of five years (2020-2024), in the order the applications were
2. Increases family-based limit to 15%, which was earlier 7%.
3. Classifies Spouses and Child as immediate relatives of the Green Card Applicant,
resulting in more Green Card applications been granted, as now spouses and children of
the applicant will not be counted against the limit.
4. Increases the number of green cards for family-sponsored first preference category to
5. Reclassification of the spouses and minor children of Legal Permanent Relatives as
immediate relatives. This uncaps the family based F2A category.
6. Allocation of new employment-based and family-sponsored immigrant visa over the
course of 5 years (2020-2024).
7. Protecting aging out children by determining their age on the date of the filing of the
petition (I-140). Further, treating aged out children as children of the temporary worker
for immigration purposes. But this act does not protect the already aged out children of
the temporary workers (H1B).
8. “Hold harmless or No harm provision” exempts immigrant visa petition approved before
enactment from the lifting of country caps to petitions approved for five years after
These are few of many changes introduced by Relief Act, but sadly this bill has not been
received as warmly and wholeheartedly by the Senators and the Congressional representatives as
was the case with S. 386, even when Relief Act brings in necessary changes to legal immigration
in comparison to S 386, which only attempted to bring in superficial changes, such as removing
the per capita cap and not increasing the number of green cards granted each year. Further, S
386, tried to eliminate the B1 visa in lieu H1B, it also increases DOL oversight and increases
penalties for LCA violators. S. 386 will further significantly affect the FDI investment in the
United States of America.
Considering the present-day uncertainties faced by the temporary workers and persons under
family-based categories, it is crucial that this bill becomes a law, which will only happen if it
receives more support from the Senators and the Congressional representatives. As of now, the
Relief Act has only garnered support by 7 Senators and few organizations such as AILA and
Immigration List, in comparison to S. 386, which was supported by 36 Senators. Therefore, the
Relief Act needs more backing by the Senators, which is where the role of the people becomes
essential. We can reach out to our Congressional representatives and record our support with
them concerning the Relief Act in the following manner:
1. We can call the Congressional representatives of our area, and their contact details can easily be found by visiting the following website https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members or by calling at (202) 224-3121 and requesting to speak with the Congressional representative. We will be required to provide the office staff of the Congressional representative our name and zip code, and state that we are calling in support of the Relief Act (S.2603) and state the reason behind the support. 2. Writing to the Congressional representative through a pre-filled letter drafted by AILA (https://www.aila.org/takeaction#66), or one can text RESIST to 50409, and follow prompts to email the respective representative. Don’t forget to mention the “Support for Relief Act” in your subject line. 3. You can also schedule an appointment with your Congressional representative. Relief Act is the future of legal immigration as it addresses most of the long-standing issues concerning legal immigration. Disclaimer This Article briefly discusses the Relief Act and under no circumstances, acts as a piece of endorsement and a legal advice; therefore, for any further question, please contact your appointed Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C.