Indian H-1B Holders Rally for Immigration Law ReformsTop Stories

February 11, 2019 09:56
Indian H-1B Holders Rally for Immigration Law Reforms

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The H-1B visa holders, mostly comprising Indians, held a rally outside the White House on Sunday afternoon, demanding immigration reforms to benefit those in the country legally.

According to the estimation by The Hindu, the rally involved nearly 300 people, which was organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC).


Among the demands of the group was that the Green Card backlog be cleared with a period of 1-5 years. Currently, the wait time can run into decades for employment based Green Cards for Indians.

The group is also pushing for Legal Childhood Arrivals (LCAs) to receive any benefits that individuals brought illegally to the United States as minors might receive. By Obama-era program, nearly 700,000 such individuals have been protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). However, the Trump administration has sought to end this program, and the issue is currently in court.

“Age 21 is a fear factor for H1B parents whose kids are on an H4,” said Jyotsna Sharma, a tech worker and TV host and one of those leading the rally on Sunday.

H1B visa holders, whose children and spouses get H4-dependent visas, are asking that H4 children be given Green Cards straight away, thus they can remain in the U.S. after they turn 21 without having to switch to another visa category, such as a student visa or an H1B visa or having to self-deport.

“Their future should not be held at stake, they are the future citizens of the world , they have done everything right,” she added.

“What we are suggesting to them [lawmakers and the Trump administration] is to include DALCA in DACA. We have nothing against DACA, that’s fine, but just because you came here legally you should not be prohibited from DACA benefits,” Shalabh Kumar, founder of RHC and donor to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, said.

“These are some of the brightest kids, they should not be thrown out of the country when they become 21,” Kumar said.

“Being on an H4 means, if I cannot obtain a Green Card by the time I turn 21, I will be kicked out of the country…In addition to being separated from my family, I will be made to feel like an outcast or a misfit, in a country that I grew up in for my whole life [sic],” Akshita, a high-school student, told the assembled crowd over a megaphone.

The third demand of those rallying was to take away the country caps for Green Card allotments. Currently no country may be allocated more than 7 percent (around 9,800) of the total number of Green Cards granted every year.

Recently, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris and Republican Senator Mike Lee introduced the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 which will do away with country caps for employment-based Green Cards and increase the caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for family-based Green Cards.

-Sowmya Sangam

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Tagged Under :
H1B visa  immigration  White House