In a bid to sway the Indian-American community ahead of the US presidential elections, Democratic party hopeful Joe Biden will reform the H-1B visa system and work towards eliminating country-quota for green cards, his campaign was quoted as saying.
An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows US companies to employ workers in speciality operations requiring technical/theoretical expertise.
The Biden Campaign emphasised its support to family-based immigration system and streamlining processing for religious worker visas, in a major policy document for Indian-Americans released on the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day.
The administration will take steps to stem the rising tide of hatred and bigotry, address the security needs of house of worship, eliminate language barriers and honour the diversity and contribution of Indian-Americans, it said.
This is the first time that a Democratic presidential candidate has come out with an exclusive policy document for Indian-Americans. There are 1.3 million eligible Indian-American voters across 8 battleground states.
Biden is scheduled to address the Indian-American community in a video message later in the day.
Biden’s campaign said he will support family-based immigration and preserve family unification as a core principle of their immigration system, which includes reducing the family visa backlog. “He will increase the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions and exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programmes in STEM fields,” the campaign said.
Further it added, “And, he will support first reforming the temporary visa system for high-skill, speciality jobs to protect wages and workers, then expanding the number of visas offered and eliminating the limits on employment-based green cards by country, which have kept so many Indian families in waiting for too long.”
Biden will restore and defend the naturalisation process for Green Card holders. A Green Card allows a non-US citizen to live and work permanently in America, according to the policy document. “He will increase the number of refugees we welcome into this country by setting the annual global refugee admissions target to 125,000 and seek to raise it over time to commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need,” the document stated.
The campaign said Biden will work with Congress to establish a minimum admission number of 95,000 refugees annually.
As a largely immigrant community, but in some cases with American roots reaching back generations, Indian-Americans know firsthand the strength and resilience that immigrants bring to the United States, it said, alleging, “But President Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants. It’s wrong and it stops when Biden is president.”
According to the campaign, Biden will rescind Trump’s Muslim ban on day one and reverse the detrimental asylum policies causing a humanitarian crisis at the border.
“He will immediately begin working with Congress to pass legislative immigration reform that modernises our system, with a priority on keeping families together by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, including more than 500,000 from India,” the campaign further added.
During the Obama-Biden administration, the FBI expanded its hate crime statistics to include Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. Biden will directly address the rise in hateful attacks and enact legislation prohibiting someone convicted of a hate crime from purchasing or possessing a firearm, it said. “Biden will appoint leaders at the Department of Justice who will prioritise the persecution of hate crimes, and he will order his Justice Department to focus additional resources to combat hate crimes, including religion-based hate crimes and to confront white nationalist terrorism,” it said.
Noting that the Sikh community suffered a terrible tragedy when a white supremacist opened fire in a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012, in which seven people were killed and four wounded, the campaign stated that in January 2019, a Hindu temple became a target of vandalism and destruction, with windows shattered and xenophobic messages spray-painted across the walls.