The organization demands that children of H-1B visa holders be treated on par with DACA recipients.
The Republican Hindu Coalition will organize a rally in front of the White House on February 10 demanding an end to the Green Card backlog for Indian nationals on H-1B visas and the threat of deportation their children face, as they age out of their H4 dependent visa status.
Hundreds of Indians nationals currently on H-1B visas and Indian Americans from across the country are expected to join the rally on Sunday to raise their voice about both the issues.
The rally, organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition, wants to create awareness about what RHC calls “DALCA,” or the “Deferred Legal Childhood Arrivals” issue and the need for these children to be treated on par with the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) beneficiaries.
DACA allows the so-called Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children protection from deportation and give them work permit. The children of H-1B visa holders that came to the United States on H4 visas need to change their visa status once they turn 21 or leave the country.
RHC founder Shalabh Kumar is expected to attend the rally. The organizers claim bipartisan support for the rally and say that both Democrats and Republicans realize the urgency of this issue.
The rally is timed to create momentum for the issue ahead of the crucial negotiations on border security ahead of the February 15 deadline. Without a deal there might be another federal government shutdown.
The organizers are demanding that the Green Card backlog affecting the Indian H-1B holders and their children be included in any potential deal.
“While the deal for Border Security is to be negotiated in the Congress, there is a possibility that DACA may be included in it,” Chicago-based community activist and RHC member Krishna Bansal told the American Bazaar. “We would like to stress that people who have legally arrived in the United States, are paying their taxes and are contributing significantly to the country and are on an unfair long wait for green card should also be given a priority.”
He said that RHC has the backing of Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, and former speaker of the US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.
While legal immigrant workers in the United States have to wait long periods for getting the Permanent Residence status, or Green Card, for the applicants from India the wait time is the longest. The computation done based on the number of applicants for each category shows that the biggest backlog is for those who have applied in the EB-2 category.
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“We all know that America is built on immigrants,” Bansal said. “Now America follows an immigration policy that gives out green cards every year, with a quota for every country. [In the] past two decades, there has been an influx of highly-qualified Indians who came to the US on H1-B work visa. A high percentage of people who arrived on H1-B visa are Indians and a high percentage of them in turn qualify and apply for Green Cards. However, the Green Card cap is country based and no more than 7 percent of green cards can be allotted to one country. This quota for Indians is marginally less than the numbers of applications each year. Thus, a massive backlog is created.”
Bansal said his organization is requesting to end the country cap on Green Card and make it merit based as there are many countries that have high quotas but they remain unutilized as people do not even apply. This would give a fair chance to law-abiding, highly qualified individuals who add value to American economy every day.”
RHC wants the issue to be included in the ongoing border security negotiations. It says the situation is dire for many H1-B holders, who have been stuck in Green Card backlogs for decades. They not only have to undergo endless H1B visa extension cycles but also live under stress and fear of their visa being rejected.
“Today their kids on H4 dependent visa who are legal dreamers are scared as well, they are aging out and they wonder—what will happen when they turn 21, will they have to leave the country?” said Netra Chavan, who is the admin for the H1B support group on Facebook called “H4 and H1B Visa Holders”. “Day in and day out they focus on immigration instead of studies. They call America as their home, their parents have come here legally and follow all the laws and rules peacefully. But still they live unsure of their future. So, this rally is for all of us.”