‘Discriminatory’ green card country caps punish Indians: Senator Lee

System puts Indians on a mind-boggling 200-year long waiting list!

As President Donald Trump mulls a merit based immigration system, a key Republican senator has drawn attention to how the current ‘discriminatory’ green card country cap system punishes nationals of one country — India.

The current 7% country cap for every country big or small puts Indians on a mind boggling 200 year long waiting list for permanent residency permits, Senator Mike Lee pointed out.

“Almost 200 years on a waiting list!” he exclaimed Wednesday urging the Senate to lift the caps. “Our country isn’t much older than that, and that’s the amount of time they would have to wait based solely on the basis of the country in which they were born,” Lee said,

Currently, there is a backlog of almost one million foreign nationals and accompanying family members lawfully residing in the US who have been approved for, and are waiting to receive, employment-based (EB) Green Cards.

“The largest number of them are from India,” Lee pointed out. “I mean, literally one country. This is inconsistent with our founding principles. this is not how we try to do things as Americans, and it’s not right.”

“Today, if you’re a work-based immigrant from India entering into the EB- Green Card application process, you will wait almost 200 years before your application is even considered solely because of where you were born,” the senator said.

“If you’re born anywhere else, anywhere else other than China; let’s say in Ghana, Sweden, Indonesia, basically any other country other than India, your application will be considered immediately.”

“This sort of discrimination is simply inconsistent with the principles of a merit-based immigration system and with our founding principles and the principles that unite us as Americans,” Lee said.

He sought Unanimous Consent of the chamber to approve the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 1044), as passed by the House in July 2019 eliminating the 7% country caps along with his amendment for their allocation on a first-come-first served basis.

However, Democratic Senate whip Dick Durbin opposed Lee’s amendment as it did not include language to protect immigrants’ children under 21.

Later, Durbin and Lee’s attempt to advance their S. 386 compromise bill fizzled out when Lee objected to Republican Rick Scott’s amendment to create another category of  immigrant visa

Even if the compromise bill passes in the Senate, it cannot become law until it is agreed to by the House and then signed by the President, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) pointed out.

The Senate bill is significantly different than the bill that was passed in the House in July 2019, H.R. 1044: Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019.

As such, there will need to be negotiations between the House and Senate in order to come to an agreement, AILA noted.

READ MORE:

Judge halts Trump’s wealth test for green cards (July 30, 2020)

Indians face a 195 year wait for green cards (July 23, 2020)

Biden vows to end green card caps, increase H-1B visas(July 15, 2020)

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