Not Considering Changes in Visa Norms That Could Get Indians Deported, Says U.S.

USCIS is not considering regulatory change in provisions that provide for H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit, it said in a statement.


The Donald Trump administration said it is not considering the proposal that would have caused a mass deportation of foreign workers by denying extensions to green card applicants whose visas had expired. If the controversial proposal had been implemented, it would have caused deportation of 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders.

“USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6 year limit. Even if it were, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead,” Jonathan Withington, the chief of Media Relations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), said in a statement on Jan. 8.

He added: “The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment based visa programs.”

Withington emphasized that USCIS was never considering such a policy change and that “any suggestion that USCIS changed its position because of pressure is absolutely false.”

However, U.S.-based publication McClatchy cited multiple sources with direct knowledge of the conversations inside the department in a report that said that the administration had shifted over the last two weeks in response to the backlash from the business community.

The earlier media reports, which quoted Department of Homeland Security about new H-1B visa norms that would result in mass deportation, had shocked policy makers, business and the Indian American community alike. Kevin Yoder, a Kansas Republican, and Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii, acting as members of Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, wrote a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on Jan.5. The letter, obtained by McClatchy, stated: “We strongly believe this action would be harmful to the American economy, credibility, and relations with India and the Indian-American community.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also warned the administration that it would be a “bad policy” to tell highly skilled workers to go back to their own countries. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) in India said that any disruptive move on the visa front would be detrimental for both India and the United States.

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