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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

US lawmakers seek to include employment based Green Card backlog as part of budget reconciliation

The move, if included in the reconciliation package and passed into law would help thousands of Indian IT professionals who are currently stuck in agonising Green Card backlog.

By: PTI | Washington |
Updated: August 24, 2021 9:02:13 am
H1b visa, Bidemployment based Green Card, Green Card, Green Card backlog, US budget reconciliation, H-1B, H-1B visa, world newsen administration, Donald Trump, trump era Visa rules, US H-1B visa rules, Biden on H1B, Indian expressA Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently.

US Congressmen, including Indian-American Raja Krishnamoorthi on Monday, urged their Congressional colleagues to support their move to employment-based Green Card backlog as part of budget reconciliation.

The move, if included in the reconciliation package and passed into law would help thousands of Indian IT professionals who are currently stuck in agonising Green Card backlog.

“It is imperative any immigration package include provisions to address the employment-based Green Card backlog, which is damaging American competitiveness and abandoning 1.2 million people to perpetual nonimmigrant status,” Krishnamoorthi said.

He called on his Congressional colleagues to join him in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the need to address the employment-based Green Card backlog as part of budget reconciliation.

“I call on my colleagues to immediately raise this important issue with leadership and ensure that relief for backlogged high-skilled workers is included in the final package. Our economic recovery from COVID-19 depends on it,” he said.

He was joined by several other lawmakers in making such an appeal.

Any package that addresses longstanding immigration priorities must include relief for the approximately 1.2 million individuals unable to receive a Green Card primarily due to country-based discrimination, Krishnamoorthi said.

“I am pleased that tackling our broken immigration system is part of the budget reconciliation discussion,” he added.

Under current law, the American economy is unable to access the full international talent pool of high-skilled workers already present and working in the United States today ? indeed, the very scientists, inventors, health care workers, entrepreneurs, and other professionals that give the United States its edge over its global competitors today, the lawmakers write.

“This is because there is effectively a Green Card ban on high-skilled immigrants from India, China, and other countries with large populations of workers eager to remain in America and power forward our economy and social safety net programs for generations to come,” the letter said.

“Right now, no more than seven percent of employment-based green cards are available to individuals from a single country, which has created a decades-long backlog for would-be immigrants from India and China. Indian nationals face a particularly daunting backlog of 80 years, and an anticipated 200,000 will die before achieving lawful permanent resident status,” it said.

This arbitrary cap is keeping some of the world’s most talented individuals from permanently calling America home, encouraging them to take their inventions, expertise, and creativity to other countries instead.

Most workers in the employment-based Green Card backlog are already in the United States on temporary nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1B visa for workers in specialty occupations, that are renewable but greatly restrict beneficiaries from reaching their full potential.

H-1B holders are unable to change jobs or start their own businesses — despite the fact that they have been shown to boost overall productivity, wages, and new patents, the letter said.

“The temporary nature of the H-1B visa forces beneficiaries to live in a constant state of uncertainty, preventing them from becoming entrepreneurs, buying homes, employing more Americans, or otherwise fully establishing themselves as permanent fixtures within the American economy,” said the letter.

“An especially painful aspect of the H-1B experience is that dependent children, known as ?Documented Dreamers’, are often forced to self-deport to their country of birth if they reach age 21 before their parent obtains a green card, despite having lived most of their lives in the United States,” it said.

Failure to provide a path to lawful permanent residence for the 1.2 million people in the employment based Green Card backlog, most of whom are H-1B visa holders, would be tantamount to staging an economic recovery with one hand tied behind our back, they wrote.

Permanently relegating H-1B holders to nonimmigrant status while China, Russia, and other major powers are ascendant on the world stage — and hungry to be home to the innovators of the 21st century — is simply nonsensical, they wrote.

“This can and must be addressed in the budget reconciliation package currently under negotiation,” the letter said.

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