Senate Immigration Bill Would Bring Millions Of Legal Immigrants to U.S. Workforce

Under current law, around 1 million people get green cards granting permanent U.S. residence each year. That would rise to between 1.5 million to 1.7 million annually under the Senate bill within about five years of enactment, the Migration Policy Institute estimates.

According to the Institute, those figures don't count people coming to the U.S. under temporary worker visas, and their numbers could rise by hundreds of thousands a year under the Senate bill. This includes more than twice as many visas for high-skilled workers, a new visa category for lower-skilled workers that could go up to 220,000 a year, and more visas for agricultural workers.

There are also tens of thousands of new work visas set aside for people from Ireland, South Korea, African and Caribbean countries, and elsewhere that got special deals in the bill. Some of these workers would be able to transition to permanent status and eventually citizenship.