1 lakh Green Cards at risk of going waste this year; resentment among Indian professionals

A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently in the US

1 lakh Green Cards at risk of going waste this year; resentment among Indian professionals

Photo for representation only. iStock

Washington, August 6

About one lakh employment-based Green Cards are at the risk of being wasted in less than two months, causing resentment among Indian IT professionals whose wait for legal permanent residency now runs into decades.

A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently in the US.

This year's quota for employment-based immigrants is 2,61,500, far higher than the usual 1,40,000, Indian professional Sandeep Pawar told PTI. 

“Unfortunately, under the law, if these visas aren't issued by September 30, they are lost forever,” he said.

The current pace of processing by US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS suggests they will waste more than 1,00,000 Green Cards, a fact recently confirmed by the Department of State officer in charge of determining visa usage, he said.

If the USCIS or the Biden administration doesn't take any steps, the extra 1,00,000 Green Cards that are available this year will be wasted, Pawar rued. 

The White House did not comment on the questions asked in this regard.

Meanwhile, a group of 125 Indian and Chinese nationals living in the US filed a lawsuit to prevent the administration from wasting the Green Cards.

“There are hundreds of thousands of gainfully employed legal immigrants in the US who would benefit from these Green Cards. Many of them have been waiting for a decade or more to adjust to permanent resident status but have been unable to do so due to a lack of available visa numbers,” he said.

“But this year, if the USCIS does its job efficiently and promptly, these immigrants finally have the opportunity to become permanent residents, something which would otherwise take decades,” said Pawar, who has been fighting for the rights of Indian professionals waiting for several decades for Green Cards.

“Most potential beneficiaries, such as myself, are from India, a country that is the most backlogged due to inherently racist and discriminatory per country quotas embedded in the INA. Many have spouses, mostly women, who are unable to work until they become permanent residents,” Pawar said.

“Many have kids who will age out and be forced to self-deport even though this is the only country they know. The harm is both immense and irreparable if these Green Cards are not used,” he said.

IMPACT executive director Neil Makhija, who met President Joe Biden as part of a delegation, said he urged him to reform the immigration laws by abolishing Green Card caps and quotas and include 2,00,000 children of long-term visa holders in efforts to protect all dreamers. PTI

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