Thousands march in Chicago to persuade Sen. Dick Durbin to support S.386

Indian immigration activists protesting in Chicago on Thursday.
Indian immigration activists protesting in Chicago on Thursday. Image via Twitter

“Walk of Equality” was organized by the Illinois immigration Forum, with the support of several Indian groups from the Midwest.

Thousands of Indian nationals descended upon the City Hall in downtown Chicago to peacefully to protest the long Green Card backlog that they are subjected to the impact that is having on their lives.

The peaceful march, organized by the Illinois Immigration Forum, attracted people from different parts of the Midwest, who came to Chicago to make their voices heard and urge Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to support the Senate bill S.386 Bill, which would remove the country quota on Green Cards, which bars citizens of any one county receiving from more than 7 percent of the Green Cards issued in a year.

As a result of the quota tens of thousands of Indian nationals are forced to wait for years and decades.

The protesters who gathered in Chicago were professionals who had been contributing to the American economy and are often left with no choice but to put their lives on hold, given the extraordinary wait time for Indian nationals on their journey to obtain the Green Card.

The US House of Representatives passed the H.R. 1044 or the “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act,” in July, to eliminate the country quota. But S.386, its companion bill, has been stalled in the Senate.

Sen. Mike Lee, the main sponsor of S.386, has been trying to bring the bill to the Senate floor through a process called “unanimous consent.” But, while the “unanimous consent” allows Senate to pass a bill without subjecting it to the standard procedures, a single senator can block it.

S.386 was initially blocked by Sen. David Perdue. Later, when the Georgia Republican reversed his stand, it was blocked by Durbin.

Most Indian immigrant activists say the new bill will provide equal opportunities for all deserving candidates to obtain permanent residency and not penalize eligible candidates based on the country of their origin. However, its opponents argue that the new bill, if passed, would lead to most green cards being issued to Indians, thus destroying the diversity of the US immigrant pool.

RELATED: Indian immigration activists to rally in Chicago to pressure Sen. Dick Durbin on S.386 (October 10, 2019)

The protesters arrived holding banners and signs that read “Senator Durbin help our children.” Many demonstrators also wore t-shirts saying: “Equality for all.”

Not surprisingly, the protesters were also met with a smaller group of demonstrators from “Support Alliance of US Immigrants,” who say that the bill would unfairly discriminate non-Indian immigrants.

But they were outnumbered by the Indian activists, who were flew and drove in from nearby Midwestern states, as well as from the East Coast to be a part of the Walk.

Venkat Reddy, who organized the walk and has been in the US for a decade, says that the current backlog unfairly puts Indians at a disadvantage.

Supporters of the bill also maintain that it is essential that the S.386 is passed so that deserving candidates gets their due.

“Merit-based, high skilled, H-1B community legally arrived in the US with their families,” says Netra Chavan, who manages the largest immigration group on Facebook. “They already underwent stringent personal and professional background checks. These families applied for Green Cards decades ago, and have been following the legal procedures. Now they are stuck for decades in the Green Card backlog line with approved Green Card status or I-140.”

Chavan says they fear losing the status while they wait for H-1B extensions. “Being stuck in this cycle is frustrating for these talented and highly experienced legal immigrants,” she says. “The reason for this backlog is that too many applications were accepted toward Green Card and only 7 percent of all applications are issued a Green Card every year from one country. In the current scenario, the Indian H-1B community feels as a major victim of this country quota discrimination. And that’s not the only thing, the community is also facing a lot of hate-crime under the current administration.”

Chavan adds, “We must not forget that these individuals are playing as crucial role in the US. Just being born in India or any other country with a high population should not be a stopcock for high skilled immigrants.”

The supporters at the Walk also voiced other concerns, including the status of children on H-4 dependent visas, who age out once they turn 21. They fear that during their long wait, thekids may lose their status and would have to leave the country they call home.

“The walk is a kind request to Sen. Dick Durbin to remove the hold from S.386,” Chavan says. “We request him to remove the hold and do not let this discrimination happen to so many law-abiding, peace-loving and merit-based immigrants.”

RELATED POSTS:

The newly passed H.R.1044 raises caps for family-based green cards (July 10, 2019)

How Netra Chavan channeled her own frustrations to build an H4 and H-1B visa support system (February 14, 2019)

RHC’s H-1B rally demands elimination of Green Card backlog, protection for ‘DALCA’ children (February 10, 2019)

Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)

Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

The unstable life of Indians on H-1B visa in the US due to visa renewal policy (October 28, 2016)

High-skilled Indian workers, DALCA kids, rally on Capitol Hill to clear green card backlog (June 15, 2018)

Reverse brain drain – the experience of three couples who moved back to India from the US (January 20, 2014)

17 Comments

  1. Great, we have pictures! I do have the sympathy to begin with.
    But, based on the picture, it looks like more than 90% of the march is Indian-based, am I fair to say that?
    And frankly that doesn’t make a convincing point does it?

    And more over let me ask this, why do you think immigrant from other countries didn’t join this cause? I think you know the answer crystal clear.

  2. As many people suggested, we should urge congress to pass a bill to put 7% cap per country on H1B program immediately. Thereafter, all these Green Card backlog issue is resolved. The Indian green card backlog issue was obviously caused by their abuse of H1B programs through Indian consulting companies (ICC). Indians gets more than 70% of the H1B quota per year. Is this fair to any other countries? If we could have put a per country cap on H1B program, there shouldn’t exist this kind of problem at all from the first place. The fact is that India has 17.7 population of the world. They get more than 20% of green cards, and more than 70% H1B visas. And they want MORE… How greedy these Indians are!!!

    • How about we give % cap based on what USA can get back from that country – like mutual benefit? Like how much business that country gives back for Amazon, Walmart or costcos, McD, KFC. Also How much software is purchased by India. Weapon deals.

    • SHALEEN MATHUR

      A loser’s rant unable to compete with Indians.

  3. Ms. writer ! How many indians have fake resume and degrees, we already have big h1b frauds and now you want same for green card. What about other countries skilled workers? If they will remove per county 7% numbers it will directly impact all other countries and will removed their chance for green card for long, and indian will take huge advantage and you will see more frauds in green card like we have seen for h1b visa. Cheap india labor has already destroyed tech sectors. Indian visa holder are ready to work under small pay rate, which impacts deserving Americans. This bill MUST NOT PASSED”. we need diversity in America. Need Skilled workers from all around the world. This bill will destroy the rights of all other countries and indian already impacting tech sectors, Indian managers, mostly in tech sectors preferred to hire indians in his team or group. Many h1b frauds cases have been found under current administration and most of the candidates are from india.

    • I am sure Americans need more muslim clowns like you in the name of diversity to come shoot up their LGBT clubs. Your English seems to be elite too. You a professor?

    • If you are against the bill put your argument decently. But look at the your natural hatred you are bringing and being fraud pretending like American. India itself is like EU being a country with huge diversity unlike cloning factory countries. Each state of India has it’s own culture, food and language. It has people who look like European and people who look like African and people who look like Asian. India has more religions like US than any other country. 1 million Indians come here they will be from all those backgrounds. 1 million of you come or 2 million of you come here it doesn’t make any difference. soon or later a half sized country of yours will be inside USA

  4. RUBBISH, try 300 and about 100 there to counter protest.

    • Sarabjeet Kaur

      Actually it was quite chilly that morning and there were only 50 protesters but each brought along his spouse and 4 kids making it look like 300. I was there, I know! Indians are a bunch of frauds, aren’t they all?!

  5. Tanay Mishra

    You can see from the pic that most of these are greedy indians (who else would dare to do this?) and they’re even waving a indian flag!!! How come people from Mexico don’t protest like this?? They’re discriminated against even more. These greedy self-centered indians deserve no sympathy. All they do is take over entire companies and then discriminate against Americans just like they’d do back in india. They want to convert this country into their own brahmin-land. Just look at the tech sector – HP, IBM, Yahoo, Google, Ebay, Twitter, FB, Microsoft – all filled with indians!! Banking, healthcare, manufacturing, autos, entire industries filled with cheap labor visa indians. indians and only indians, bloody no one else!! Not a single Hispanic or Black person is allowed in once these indians take over people. Doesn’t that reek of extreme homophobia and ethnic bigotry against everyone else???? I say, deport all of them now!! Miller, Bannor et al have done a splendid job of pushing back against the India Inc. takeover of America, and very few like Sen. Durbin will support the political process with due legislative action. Kudos to him for standing up for everyday Americans. Indians are only here to take jobs and loot the country, nothing else. They’ll turn this into a 3rd world dump soon enough unless we stop them in their tracks. Enough is enough, Americans must stand up for their rights. Visa hoarders, resume fakers, job stealers go home – you’re NOT WANTED here no more. God bless America.

    • Mark Hernandez

      Well Said

    • This country based discriminative Permanent Residency ONLY happens in the US. None of the other developed countries adopt this model (Canada, Australia, UK, etc.,). What these people are fighting for could only be understood if you are one of them. Don’t mix H1B fraud into this issue, its not related. Indians are one of the high income ethnic groups in USA. So stop the BS about Cheap Labor. I am Indian, I know what I make is 10X the median income of USA – for sure not a cheap labor by any means. So why am I affected by this Immigration system? Just because I was born in India. If you are just a pure hater, you keep spreading hatred coz thats what you are worth for.

    • Not really concerned about this whole immigration process but lol are you serious about cheap labor?
      I’m a PhD in Astrophysics from Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (FYI one of the top institutes for theoretical Physics) working in SFO with one of the top firms as a Chief Data Scientist making close to 250K base salary, yet stuck in Green card backlog as they could not file me in EB1a and filed in EB2. I have 5 papers published in 5.5 impact factor journal and archived in Nasa DB. There is so much flaw in this immigration system – 10 papers in Biochemistry cannot be directly compared to 5 papers in Astrophysics. One is experimental and the other is theoretical and to top that there is no greater weightage given to first authored paper vs someone who has 10 papers and 7th or 10th author in every paper.

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