We Should Give Equal Importance to Legally Arrived Kids, Says U.S. Senator

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul speaks in support of children who arrived legally in the United States but are forced to leave if their family does not get a green card.


Around 2 lakh Indian children who went to the United States legally are in danger of losing their legal status because of the green card backlog, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky said on Feb. 20, 2018. While the focus in the immigration debate has been around illegal immigrants covered under the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, there is no emphasis laid on legal childhood arrivals, he said.

Not enough people have been made aware of the problem and there are not “enough voices” raising the issue, Paul added. He urged Indian Americans to raise the matter about the legal children to Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Representative Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, since they are spearheading the fight for legally arrived children.

“We should give equal importance to Deferred Action for Legal Childhood Arrivals (DALCA) kids,” Paul said, referring to legal arrivals. While the children who reached the United States illegally were covered by DACA, those who reached legally can lose their visa after turning 21 if their family has not received a green card until then. The backlog for receiving a green card for a family living in the United States on H-1B visa is 70 years.

“Once people are aware (of DALCA), they want to fix it. But all of it (debate) is focused on illegal immigrants,” Sen. Paul said during a press conference organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition, according to NewsIndiaTimes.

Paul, and representatives Kevin Yoder of Kansas, and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, have initiated a “Dear Colleague” letter, addressed to every member, urging them to sign it, for support of House Resolution 392, “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017.” The resolution supports removal of a 7 per cent country limit for green cards.

The “Dear Colleague” letter says that “the children of those H-1B holders can fall out of legal status and would not be covered by either DACA or the DREAM Act.”

Those children who came legally are in the United States on a H4 visa and can only be dependent on the parents’ H1-B until they turn 21, following which many of them are forced to return to their native countries despite spending most of their youth in the United States or stay on illegally. The green card backlog by family/chain applicants and highly skilled applicants brings it to a total of around 4.5 million people, but only the highly skilled have to wait 60 to 70 years.

Paul had voted against U.S. President Donald Trump immigration bill on Feb.15, which curtailed family immigration and stopped the diversity visa lottery. He is against providing amnesty to illegal immigrants and sees legal migration as a “tremendous benefit” to the United States. Paul claims he has “fought hard to secure our (U.S.) borders while most in Washington, D.C. offer nothing but talk.”

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