Indian American lawmakers call for action to end decades long backlog for Indian IT professionals.
Four Indian American lawmakers, popularly know as the ‘Samosa Caucus’ hope that if elected president, Democrat Joe Biden would remove the country cap that makes Indian professionals wait for decades to get their Green Card.
Highly skilled Indian IT and medical professionals coming to the US mainly on H-1B work visas are the worst sufferers of the current system imposing a seven per cent country quota on all nations big or small.
Officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, the document allows a non-US citizen to live and work permanently in America.
Noting that backlog for an Indian national to get the permanent residency or Green Card is more than 195 years, Republican senator Mike Lee urged his Senate colleagues in July to come out with a legislative resolution to the issue.
The all Democrat ‘Samosa Caucus’ members— Raja Krishnamoorthi, Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna — spoke on the issue during a virtual panel discussion at the day-long IMPACT Summit held virtually last week.
The discussion was moderated by former US Ambassador to India, Rich Verma.
One of the original co-sponsors of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, Krishnamoorthi said removing the per country cap on employment-based Green Cards would end the decades long backlog for Indian IT professionals brought to the US to meet shortages in the IT industry.
“I’m hopeful that under a Joe Biden administration, we’re finally going to be able to get this legislation through the Senate, and then signed into law and of course, as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package as a whole,” he said.
Jayapal, who is vice chairman of the House Immigration subcommittee, said that they have been working on a number of immigration-related issues including making sure that the spouses of H-1B workers are able to work in the US.
It includes addressing undocumented workers, a number of whom are Indians. Referring to a recent report, she said that 6.5 per cent of Indian-Americans are living below the poverty line.
Expressing serious concern over the global impact of covid-19 pandemic, Bera, the senior-most Indian-origin Congressman, said the US needs to return to the global stage and work with likeminded allies.
The pandemic has had a big impact on the health, including the mental health across the nation, but it is also very prevalent in the South Asian Indian American community.
Khanna said that the immigration community has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, including hotel and motel owners and small businesses.
He, Jayapal and other lawmakers are working to get relief packages to those hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Khanna said that he really believes that the Indian-American community can “be decisive” in swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
He urged the community to work for Biden as his victory would be historic in making Indian-American Kamala Harris as the vice president.
“This is really a great moment for the community,” Khanna said.
Green card seekers required to declare self-sufficiency (October 5, 2020)
Backlogs and wait times for US visas, green cards set to increase (August 26, 2020)