Biden-Harris ticket vows to increase permanent, employment-based immigration

Supports eliminating green card country caps keeping Indian families waiting for too long.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his Indian American running mate Kamala Harris have promised to increase employment-based immigration and end green card country caps that have kept Indian families in long waiting lines.

The Biden-Harris campaign made the promise in response to an endorsement questionnaire from the Hindu American Political Action Committee (HAPAC) “on behalf of the 3 million strong Hindu American community.”

Since the Trump campaign did not respond to its questionnaire, HAPAC said it will refrain from offering an official endorsement.

HAPAC had asked if Biden would advocate for the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (S.386/H.R. 1044) “which removes an arbitrary per country cap on green cards for immigrants that is causing members of the Indian community to wait 50 years or more for legal permanent residency.”

“A Biden-Harris Administration will work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration—and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high US unemployment,” the campaign wrote in response.

RELATED: Road to the White House: Immigration: Trump’s merit with wall vs Biden’s welcome for all (July 26, 2020)

“We will also exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programs in STEM fields in the US who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy,” it said.

The campaign said it believes “that foreign graduates of a US doctoral program should be given a green card with their degree and that losing these highly trained workers to foreign economies is a disservice to our own economic competitiveness.”

Critically, it said “Biden believes that we need to reform our high skilled temporary visas support to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages.”

“As part of that reform, he supports eliminating the limits on employment-based green cards by country, which have kept so many Indian and Hindu families in waiting for too long,”

“We are, fundamentally, a nation of immigrants” the Biden campaign said noting the US “has been greatly enriched by Hindu and Indian immigrants, who have served our communities as essential workers, created jobs and economic growth as entrepreneurs, bled for our Nation as members of our armed forces, and worked for a more perfect Union as activists and public servants.”

Unlike the Trump administration, “we will support immigration policies that recognize the immeasurable contributions of those who have chosen to make America home,” it said.

The Biden campaign emphasized “that our immigration plan includes numerous additional policies that support Indian and Hindu Americans.”

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

“For example, we are committed to immigration reform that provides a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants — including more than 500,000 from India,” it said.

Biden also promised to “remove the uncertainty for Dreamers by reinstating the DACA program and explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation.”

“All of this is in direct opposition to Trump’s actions,” it said noting, “Trump has publicly backed the RAISE Act, which dramatically lessens family-based immigration by reducing the types and number of sponsorships available.”

“In addition, Trump attempted to rescind DACA, nearly tearing apart Indian and Hindu American families already woven into the fabric of our communities,” it said.

HAPAC noted that in response to its question on cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Biden campaign stated that the Biden-Harris administration will have “no tolerance” for terrorism in South Asia, “cross-border or otherwise.”

“We welcome this recognition of the scourge of terrorism in South Asia, largely sponsored by Pakistan, and the Biden campaign’s commitment to working closely with India as a “counter-terrorism partner.”

HAPAC also noted that the Biden campaign’s answers specifically recognize that Hindu American students are being bullied on the basis of how Hinduism is misrepresented in classrooms and that this should be rectified.

The Biden campaign had also recognized that crimes against Hindus and Hindu mandirs (temples) based on religion must be recognized as hate crimes

HAPAC also noted that the campaign expressed a commitment to ending country of origin caps for employment-based green cards.

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