Indian-American congressman criticizes Biden's stance on green cards


U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna criticizes Biden administration over green card issue

What happened

Indian-American Congressman Rona expressed dissatisfaction with the Joe Biden administration's inaction on the Equal Access to Legal Employment Green Card (EAGLE) Act.

The legislation, which aims to address backlogs affecting Indian professionals seeking green cards and processing H-1B visas, has yet to move forward despite bipartisan calls for reform.

“I am deeply disappointed that the amendment to include it in this year's National Defense Authorization Bill did not receive a vote,” he wrote on X.

EAGLE Act’s potential impact on immigration backlog

Khanna highlighted the economic benefits of the EAGLE Act, saying, “The EAGLE Act will benefit our economy by eliminating arbitrary green card caps on a per-country basis.”

He also noted that immigrants contribute important skills to the U.S. economy and help fill critical shortages.

The EAGLE Act of 2022 “increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% to 15% of the total number of such visas available for that year and eliminates the per-country cap on employment-based immigrant visas.”

Current immigration laws anticipate longer wait times

David J Bier, deputy director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, predicts that under current law, India's wait times for skilled immigrants will be as long as 90 years.

He pointed out that more than 200,000 people may die before receiving green cards, and about 90,000 children of immigrants (mainly Indians) will “exceed” their green card eligibility while waiting.

New immigration policy promotes family reunification

Instead, the Biden administration announced a new immigration policy aimed at promoting family reunification.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will allow non-citizens married to Americans to apply for legal permanent residence without leaving the country.

The program is expected to benefit 500,000 non-citizen spouses of U.S. citizens who have lived in the United States for more than 23 years.

To be eligible, a non-citizen must have resided in the United States for 10 years or more and be legally married to a U.S. citizen.

Criticism of new policy's impact on skilled workers

The new policy has been criticized because it could make things worse for the backlog of legal skilled workers, especially Indian Americans who come to the U.S. primarily on H-1B work visas.

Critics say this does nothing to alleviate their plight.

One critic, Anuj, said that under the new process, many undocumented people living in the United States will qualify for H-1Bs and may eventually qualify for EB visas, which could increase wait times for those already approved.

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