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Immigration

Green card wait time for Indians can go to 450 years by 2030, says Senator Mike Lee

New York, July 23 (IANS) The wait time for green cards for Indians professionals stuck in the “awful, hellish green card backlog” could go up from the current 195 years to 450 years in ten years without a comprehensive reform of the immigration system, a Republican Senator has warned.

Senator Mike Lee said on Wednesday: “By the time we stretch this (backlogs) out to 2030, the 195-year backlog I mentioned a moment ago would be extended out to a 400- to 450-year backlog.”

He said that for those filing for green cards “in 2020, the wait for an EB2 green card is not, in fact, 20 to 30 years for an Indian national. What is it, then? Is it 30? Is it 40, 50, 60? No, it is much longer than that. It is 195 years. This means that someone from India entering the backlog today would have to wait 195 years to receive an EB3 green card.”

EB2 green cards – the permanent immigration visa leading to citizenship – are for those with advanced degrees and EB3 for skilled and professional workers.

The annual green card quota for India and most countries is about 26,000.

Lee gave these wait times while opposing a Democratic bill that would protect the children of those on H1-B and other employment visas who are waiting for their green cards from being deported when they turn 21.

He said that with such long wait times, the children would not be able to qualify for green cards in their lifetimes and, instead, a comprehensive reform is needed.

When children turn 21, they are no longer considered dependents and will lose their visa status based on their parents’ visas as well as their claim to a green card and the Protect Children of Immigrant Workers Act proposed by Democrat Senator Dick Durbin seeks to remedy this.

While the cause of children who came to the US illegally has a lot of political support, the children who came in legally but reached adulthood has been under the radar and Durbin’s bill proposes a parallel remedy.

Durbin said that without increasing the total number of green cards, it would not be possible to deal with the huge backlogs and the decades-long wait times.

He said, “Just do the math; 140,000 EB (employment) visas and 226,000 family visas per year and 5 million people waiting. If you think you can solve this without changing the number of green cards, you can’t.”

He said that Lee told him that many Republicans opposed increasing the number of green cards that can be issued in a year.

Durbin’s bill would also allow H1-B visa-holders to file early for green cards, freeing them to switch jobs without being held down by the employers who sponsored them for theAvisa.

One of the compromises offered in Durbin’s bill is to restrict H1-B visas for outsourcing companies.

It would prohibit a company from hiring additional H-1B workers in the future if the company’s workforce is more than 50 employees and more than 50 per cent of those are temporary workers.

He said that eight of the top ten companies getting H1-B visas were outsourcing companies.

Defending his opposition to Durbin’s bill. Lee said that the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act he and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris have proposed would protect children, protects widows and widowers of H1-B visa-holders, while expediting green cards for all high-skilled immigrants.

A version of the bill that would lift national quotas to allow Indian applicants for green cards to get access to more immigration visas has been passed by the House of Representatives, but has been blocked by Durbin and two Republicans.

Durbin has said that lifting the national quota restrictions would only increase the wait times for other countries unless the number of green cards is increased.

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She is 15, and comes from a village with no electricity. He is 20, and hails from a lower middle-class family with bare access to daily resources. Together, they are the salsa dance duo Bad Salsa, and are winning global fans after impressing judges on the international reality show, “America’s Got Talent”. The Indian duo of Sonali Majumdar and Sumanth Maroju aspire to be international stars and win laurels and accolades for India with their salsa groove. Their tryst with fame started when they won “India’s Got Talent” season four in 2012. Sonali also participated in “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions”. “I come from a distant village near the Bangladesh border where there was no electricity. My father is a farmer who used to earn approximately Rs 80 per day and had a tough time raising the family. After ‘India’s Got Talent’, the village came into limelight and eventually electricity supply was made available. Now we own some land, and have built a house for our family,” Sonali told IANS, looking back at the challenges in her dance journey. Sumanth’s family broke many shackles to help him realize his dream. “In my lower middle-class family, dancing was never considered a profession. My family broke barriers and stereotypes to keep my dreams going. My father is a railway employee with bare access to daily resources but has always supported our family in every way possible. We now reside in a flat in Bhubaneswar and our standard of living has increased,” Sumanth said. Looking back at the start of the duo, Sumanth shared: “Our sir Bivash Chowdhury paired us in 2012 to participate in ‘India’s Got Talent’. His decision forever changed our lives.” “We just focused on working hard with a positive intention of doing great work and followed our sir’s instructions. Taking part in such a renowned show was always a distinct dream but Bivash sir made it possible for us. He has shaped us into who we are today. While rehearsing our only aim is to keep getting better so we can constantly provide electrifying performances,” he said. Full report on our website. Link in bio. #agt #badsalsa #mumbai #americasgottalent

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