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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Green Card Backlog for Indians a ‘National Disgrace,’ Lawmakers Tell Biden

A group of US lawmakers has urged Joe Biden and his administration to take executive action to make priority dates current for Green Card applicants from India to reduce the 195-year-long wait period and backlog, which has left them in constant limbo. Led by Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Larry Bucshon, the bipartisan group of 56 lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas requesting that the President use his executive authority to provide relief for high-skilled employment-based visa holders waiting in the backlog.

According to the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS USA), the current seven percent country cap on employment-based green cards has had a severe impact on immigrants from countries like India who are critical to America’s tech industries, leading to an astounding green card backlog of over 195 years. This massive backlog prevents skilled workers from being able to continue contributing to American innovation and economy, leaving many Indian H-1B visa holders in a state of limbo that can only be ended through policy intervention.

The plight of this community has been highlighted by the recent mass layoffs at US technology companies, with hundreds of people stuck in a visa limbo and no clear path to citizenship. Earlier this year, Republican US Senator Mike Lee addressed the issue on the Senate floor, stating that “someone from India entering the green card backlog today will have to wait 195 years to receive an EB-3 green card.”

Unlike other countries with less population, where citizens are prioritized for faster processing of their green cards, Indians are stuck in a lengthy queue due to outdated and discriminatory policies. Adding to the frustration is that spouses of those waiting for their green cards are not allowed to work and are relegated to being homemakers unless they can obtain their work authorization through a separate immigration process.

Additionally, the inflexibility of current immigration policies can lead to children awaiting their green cards being forced to leave the country when they reach the age of 21 or lose their status altogether because of delays in their application. This can be particularly devastating for STEM professionals, scientists, and engineers whose career options are limited.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act has been introduced in Congress to eliminate the per-country quota system and the backlog for high-skilled employment-based green cards. This commonsense measure would be a game changer for nearly a million high-skilled legal immigrants whose status in the United States could expire anytime. Aman Kapoor, the President of Immigration Voice, a national advocacy organization for high-skilled immigrants, praised Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Bucshon for introducing this legislation. “It is time to bring compassion and fairness to the process and end this senseless injustice,” he said. “We can no longer allow a cruel and inhumane immigration system to continue.”

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