U.S. Lawmakers Urge Biden to Prioritize Green Card Applications for Indians
A group of 56 bipartisan US lawmakers, led by Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi and Larry Bucshon, has called on the Biden administration to take executive action and expedite the processing of Green Card applications for Indian immigrants. The lawmakers addressed a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting them to make priority dates current for Green Card applicants from India. This move aims to reduce the extensive backlog and long wait period that has left many Indian applicants in limbo.
The current backlog has led to an astonishing wait time of 195 years for Green Card applicants from India, mainly due to the seven percent country cap on employment-based Green Card allocation. This backlog has disproportionately affected Indian tech professionals and highly skilled STEM graduates who play a vital role in maintaining the US’s competitive edge in technology industries. The prolonged wait has hindered these talented individuals from contributing significantly to the country’s growth and innovation.
The lawmakers propose that marking all dates for filing employment-based visa applications as “current” would allow applicants to file their applications, regardless of their country-based priority date. This action could potentially make them eligible for employment authorization documents, enabling them to change jobs, start businesses, and travel abroad to visit family without penalties.
Without this administrative action, individuals are left in a constant state of uncertainty and, in some cases, are compelled to stay with one company due to their Green Card status. The proposed measure is seen as a commonsense solution to provide basic human rights and flexibility to nearly one million highly skilled immigrants whose status in the US is currently precarious and subject to their employers’ decisions.
Immigration advocacy groups, such as the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) and Immigration Voice, have been actively pushing for relief for Indian Green Card applicants and H-1B visa holders. They are urging the Biden administration to address bureaucratic delays in the legal immigration system and ensure fairness and equality in the immigration process.
It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will respond to this bipartisan appeal and whether executive action will be taken to alleviate the challenges faced by Indian Green Card applicants and high-skilled immigrants in the US.