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Could new approach yield more equal distribution of green cards?

Each year people from nations throughout the globe seek to live in the United States. For many, that entails obtaining a green card. While the process of securing legal permanent residence is the same for all individuals, a recent study focused on the attainability of green cards by individuals from various backgrounds. The results indicate that the way in which the green cards are awarded may not be equal.

The researchers involved the study focused their attention on applications for labor certification, for 40 months. The applications studied were both denied as well as granted. The study provided controls for a variety of things including:

  • Salary
  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Location
  • Prior visa history

After applying these controls, researchers determined that there was a discrepancy between the number of applications approved from two groups. While applications filed by Latin American immigrants were approved 66.8 percent of the time, those filed by Asian immigrants, were approved 90.5 percent of the time.

Researchers indicate that the reason for the discrepancy does not appear to be based upon review policy or intentional discrimination. Rather, in making the decisions, limited information may be relied upon. This can occur because an entire file does not need to be read before a decision is rendered. In fact, when immigration officials are provided an entire file for review, the study found that the apparent bias disappeared.

The researchers who conducted the study offered a couple of ways in which the issue might be addressed. The first is to remove information not relevant to the applicant’s ability to do a job, such as name or country of origin, from the application. In the alternative, providing a full file initially could have an impact.

There are multiple obstacles that someone seeking a green card could encounter. In these situations an immigration lawyer could be of assistance in addressing them.

Source: The Fiscal Times, “Green Card Study Shows Bias for Asians Over Latinos,” Rob Garver, Nov. 23, 2014

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