Skilled Indian Workers Hold Rallies Across U.S. to End Green Card Backlog
The campaign, called #BreaktheBacklog, was launched by GCReforms, a Seattle-based advocacy group of highly skilled Indian workers who have been waiting for green cards for years.
Hundreds of Indian professionals living in the United States held rallies over the weekend in Kentucky, Arkansas, Oregon and Nebraska, seeking reforms in the green card allocation process. Currently, Indians with high-skilled worker visas have to wait several decades for green card because of the 7 per cent country limit.
The rallies were held to urge lawmakers to end the country limit, which has been dubbed arbitrary.
The campaign, called #BreaktheBacklog, was recently launched by GCReforms, a Seattle-based advocacy group of highly skilled Indian workers who have been waiting for green cards for several years.
The rallies were attended by around 200 people in Oregon, 300 in Kentucky and 100 protesters in Arkansas. In Nebraska, Representative Don Bacon met the India Association of Nebraska.
“They shared with me many of the shortcomings of our H-1B visa program and the impact on their families and local employers. I look forward to being a strong voice in tackling these problems,” he tweeted.
In Arkansas, Centerton Mayor Bill Edwards and citizens spoke in favor of clearing the backlog that can be anything between 25 years to 92 years, the issue of H4 visa children and the H4 employment authorization document (EAD) issue. In Kentucky, 300 Indians gathered along with Congressman Rep Andy Barr and Mayor William May. In Oregon’s Hillsboro, the Indians gathered for the rally thanked Senator Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden for a strong letter to the Department of Homeland Security in favor of clearing the backlog.
“These legal immigrants are the victims of an arbitrary per-country cap on green cards,” said Congressman Barr, according to WYMT News. “These are engineers, these are architects, they’re doctors, they’re nurses, they’re IT professionals, and they can contribute enormously to our community and to our economy, When we talk about immigration reform, we can not forget fixing our broken legal immigration system,” he added.
H4 visa children are the ones who are dependent on their H-1B visa parent, and lose the H4 visa status after the age of 21 years, forcing them to return to India. The H4 EAD issue, on the other hand, has been a sword hanging on the careers of spouses of H-1B workers who were able to start working in the country during the Barack Obama administration. The matter is under litigation.
The Congress is currently working on Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, also known as H.R. 392, which will address the cap on country-based green cards.