“Walk for Equality” will start from the City Hall in downtown Chicago and end at Durbin’s office.
Green Card backlog has been affecting Indian nationals working in the United States for decades now. As the momentum continues to build up, especially among the H-1B visa community, a walk is being organized in Chicago, later this afternoon in support of the Senate bill S.386, which is currently being blocked by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.
Billed as the “Walk for Equality,” the initiative has been organized by a group called the Illinois Immigration Forum. Several Indian organizations from Illinois and other Midwest states part of the walk.
Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, has been a vocal opponent of the bill. Its main sponsor, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has been trying to bring the bill to the floor through a “unanimous consent.” However, initially Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, and then Durbin have blocked the attempt.
If any senator objects to the bill, which seeks to remove the country quota for Green Cards, a vote would not take place.
“S.386, or the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019,” is championed by Sen. Lee and [Kamala Harris],” said Venkat Reddy, one of the organizers of the walk. “The companion H.R.1044 passed the US House of Representatives in July with overwhelming majority and it is one step away from becoming law of the land. Sen. Lee mentioned two weeks back in a town hall that Sen. Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois, is opposed to the unanimous consent.”
The Indian community of the state was shocked to learn that their only chance to get out of decades long backlog will not be a reality soon and that motivated all actitivists from the Chicagoland area and across Illinois to come under one umbrella “Illinois Immigration Forum” on September 29th, he said.
The Forum debated on ways to communicate its members’ pain to the Senator, and “this led to the discussion of organizing a walk to appeal to Sen. Durbin to not block the bill when it comes up for unanimous consent,” the activist said. “That is our only agenda for the community — collectively work together with senator to support our future and a chance at American dream,” he added.
A recent a video that went viral on Twitter alleged that Durbin, while attending a town hall recently, made fun of thousands of Indians awaiting green cards for decades. The video showed a man handing over a mock Green Card to the senator and saying, “If you want more Green Card, here is all you want.” The video shows Durbin accepting it amidst a peal of laughter, saying, “Thank you very much, been waiting for years.”
RELATED: Sen. David Perdue reverses stand on S. 386, but Sen. Dick Durbin blocks vote (September 26, 2019)
The organizations came together to highlight the importance of passing S.386 and create awareness that the bill intends to create equality for all by removing per country caps for employment-based Green Cards. They call for a first-come, first-serve approach is required to remove the unfathomable wait-time of over 150 years for Indians.
This apart, the bill would also save dependent kids from aging out and self-deportation as well as enabling professionals who add value to the American economy in important fields such as medicine, science and engineering.
The companion HR 1044 was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming vote earlier this year in July. The bill proposes to phase out the per country limits on employment-based Green Cards, which prevents any single country from receiving more than 7 percent of the Green Cards issued in a year.
According to one report, in 2018, more than half of the employees for whom US employers requested Green Cards were Indian nationals, but only 13 percent of them received the Green Cards. The country limits lead to an uneven distribution of a backlog.
The Walk for Equality would start from the City Hall in downtown Chicago at 4.00 pm on October 10 and continue till Durbin’s office in Dearborn.
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