July 25, 2021

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President Joe Biden very clear about restoring order to immigration system: White House on H-1B work visas


Washington: US President Joe Biden has been very clear about “restoring compassion and order” to the country’s immigration system, the White House said, noting that a series of executive actions signed by him in the last few weeks are just the beginning.

“The executive actions signed thus far are just the beginning, a White House spokesperson was quoted as saying by the news agency PTI.

“President Biden has been very clear about restoring compassion and order to our immigration system, and correcting the divisive, inhumane, and immoral policies of the past four years, which is our focus in the coming weeks and months,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson was responding to a question on an influential immigration advocacy group representing Indian-Americans urging the Biden administration not to issue the most sought-after H-1B work visa to any individual born in India, till the time the discriminatory country-cap on green cards or permanent legal residency is removed.

In a statement, Aman Kapoor, president of Immigration Voice called on the Biden administration to use its authority under INA Section 212(f) to exclude any new individual born in India who are not currently in the United States legally from obtaining a new H-1B visa for the first time in Fiscal Year 2022.

The White House, however, did not say if the administration intends to issue such an order. 

At the same time, it has committed itself to a comprehensive immigration reform which is humane and compassionate. In his immigration reform bill sent to the Congress, the White House has proposed elimination of country-quota in the allocation of green cards, a major demand of organisations like Immigration Voice and Indian IT professionals.

The non-partisan Congressional Research Service says that this “discriminatory and arbitrary” cap on the number of Indian nationals who can receive lawful permanent residency each year has created a backlog of over one million people waiting for green cards, with a wait time of over 195 years, Kapoor said, adding that in the fiscal year 2030, the line is expected to grow to 436 years.

“A majority of the Green Card backlog consists of women and children, who will eventually die in these backlogs. Needless to say, the per-country limits on the employment-based green card system are, in fact, 100 per cent an ‘Indian Exclusion Act’. In reality, this implies a de facto ban on employment-based green cards for any new Indian national entering the United States on an H-1B visa,’’ Kapoor said. 

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