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The word Retrogression is synonymous with the word regression, which means backward movement. In immigration jargon, Retrogression refers to the state of priority dates for particular employment based category and given country becoming unavailable or not being current. In the recent times, EB Categories such as EB-3 India, China mainland born, Philippines and Mexico have been retrogressed from Jan 1st 2005. Categories such as EB-2 India, China and EB-1 India, China were also retrogressed from Oct 1st 2005. How ever, EB-1 India and China have been current for close to 2 years starting in September 2006.

Reasons for Retrogression

In the aftermath of September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, Department of Home land security was formed and the formerly Immigration and Naturalization services (INS) / Bureau of citizenship and Immigration services (BCIS) was transformed into USCIS. Such huge transformation crippled the already bureaucratic INS/BCIS resulting in loss of productivity at USCIS and wastage of visa numbers.

In the aftermath of September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, the time taken by USCIS & FBI to complete a background check for an individual has increased exponentially resulting in pending applications, otherwise can be approved.

As per the INA act, Unused visa numbers cannot be carried over to the next USCIS fiscal year, irrespective of existing backlogs.

Department of Labor was over burdened by the reinstatement Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) in 2000 along with the increased number of permanent foreign labor certifications filed by US employers for their employees. This number increased heavily due to the temporary H1B cap increase to 195,000 during the same time period.

Attempts to Solve Retrogression

As you may know, Immigration voice was born out of the will of individuals who were suffering due to retrogression. Immigration voice has organized lobby days and meet the law maker sessions so that lawmakers can understand the effects of retrogression. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has championed the issues in the 110th congress and has sponsored three bills to solve retrogression. How ever Zoe's attempts to bring these to the floor were filibustered by the Republican members on the committee. These members include Rep Steve King and Rep Lamar Smith.

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