Pushes for action on the Hill for faster processing of green cards; H-4, L-2 EADs.
Keen to fix America’s broken immigration system, President Joe Biden is pushing for action in the Congress to ensure faster processing of green cards and work permits for the spouses of foreign workers.
“I think the President would reiterate that he believes that there should be faster processing, that our immigration system is broken at many levels,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday at a White House briefing.
“He is eager for Congress to move forward with action there,” she said in response to a question about a protest on Capitol Hill by a number of Indian American doctors fighting against Covid-19 pandemic demanding elimination of country quotas for green cards.
Asked about delays in issuing Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to spouses of H-1B and L-1 workers on H-4, L-2 dependent visas, Psaki said that was part of the reason for Biden’s push for action on his sweeping immigration overhaul bill.
“I think part of the reason we want to push for action on immigration on the Hill is to move forward with expediting the processing and doing that on several levels, including a number of the visas that you just conveyed,” she said.
“So that’s part of the reason why we think that’s such an important piece to move forward on,” Psaki said in response to a question about the cause of the spouses that was supported by Vice President Kamala Harris when she was a senator.
Last month, Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress proposing removal of seven percent country caps for green cards for all nations big or small.
This has created a huge backlog for applicants from countries like India, while some small nations do not use their full quota.
According to the State Department, Indians with advanced degrees whose immigration applications were approved in 2009 and skilled workers and professionals whose applications were okayed in 2010 are still waiting for their green cards.
The immigration reform bill faces an uphill battle in the Congress with an evenly divided Senate and Republicans demanding stringent restrictions on illegal immigration.
Earlier, legislative action to remove country caps died in the last Congress because the Senate and House of Representatives failed to reconcile their differences in time.
H-1B visas are for professionals and L-1 visas are for those transferred by their companies to the US.
Their spouses, mostly Indian women, had been allowed to work in the US by President Barack Obama, but his successor Donald Trump had tried to ban work authorization for them.
In his first week in office, Biden put to an end to Trump’s efforts and allowed spouses to get work permits.
Delay in processing of H-4 and L-2 spouses’ EADs challenged (March 24, 2021)
Rep. Coleman asks DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas about H-4 EAD delays (March 22, 2021)