Light at the end of the tunnel for Green Card backlog community?

Disappointment over absence of Rep Zoe Lofgren and Sen Mike Lee from the list of those seeking Congressional action

As a coalition of 40 lawmakers led by Indian American congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi sought Congressional action to end the employment based green card backlog in the budget reconciliation package, there was mixed reaction in the community.

The coalition including Kathy Manning and Deborah K Ross sent a letter Tuesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer seeking relief to the 1.2 million individuals stuck in the employment-based green card backlog in the reconciliation package.

With a growing number of lawmakers now joining the coalition, can the Indian work based visa holders who form the majority of those in the green card backlog hope that there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel?

Read: 200,000 Indians will die before getting green cards: Raja Krishnamoorthi (September 1, 2021)

Atlanta based Amit Kumar who has been in the long wait for green card says, “I am happy that the talk is gaining some momentum in the mainstream conversations about the immigration reforms.”

“However, as backlog community we are puzzled why the earlier champions of the green card reforms such as Rep Zoe Lofgren or Senator Mike lee are missing from the list of co-signees.

“It is confusing for many of us as we do not know who really is on our side and would not abandon the ship before we achieve our target. It still looks like a long way to go if you ask me but yes, at least the issue is getting talked about.”

Sacramento, California based Pari Sharma says, “I have been in the green card backlog along with the longish wait for EAD (work permit). So well I would say anybody from the Congress, senators or politicians who joins the chorus right now deserves our gratitude. It is more the merrier for us right now.”

The coalition has requested Pelosi and Schumer that the budget reconciliation package should provide relief to the 1.2 million individuals stuck in the employment-based green card backlog.

Under the current system, no more than 7% of employment-based green cards are available to individuals from a single country. As a result, individuals from countries with large populations — such as India and China — face decades-long wait times to achieve lawful permanent resident status.

In order to fully unlock the economic potential of high-skilled immigrants, a pathway to lawful permanent residence must be cleared and the system must be reformed, the lawmakers wrote.

Contrary to what many believe that green card reforms are only for the benefit of those derailed by the back log, the lawmakers have stressed that reforming the immigration system will be especially helpful to the United States as its economy and workforce continues to recover from the pandemic.

The representatives wrote, “Permanently relegating H-1B holders to nonimmigrant status while China, Russia, and other major powers are ascendant on the world stage – and hungry to be home to the innovators of the 21st century – is simply nonsensical.

“This can and must be addressed in the budget reconciliation package currently under negotiation.”

Read: Green card backlog community seeks inclusion in reconciliation package (August 26, 2021)

“This arbitrary cap is keeping some of the world’s most talented individuals from permanently calling America home, encouraging them to take their inventions, expertise, and creativity to other countries instead.”

Signatories included Congress members Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rashida Tlaib, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna.

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