Indian American lawmaker disappointed with Biden's stand on green cards and H-1B reforms - Hindustan Times
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Indian American lawmaker disappointed with Biden's stand on green cards and H-1B reforms

Jun 21, 2024 08:55 AM IST

US Representative Ro Khanna advocates for the EAGLE Act to alleviate Green Card backlogs and the country's economy.

Earlier this year, at the Tech Immigration Summit held at the US Capitol, bipartisan lawmakers highlighted the urgent need to address the severe backlog affecting Indian professionals seeking Green Cards and navigating H-1B visa issues. Since then, the Biden administration has not taken any major step to escalate the EAGLE Act to address the “decades-long backlog for immigrants,” and Indian-American lawmaker Ro Khanna feels “disappointed” with the House's ignorance of the bipartisan bill.

US lawmakers, Ro Khanna highlight urgent need to address backlog affecting Indian professionals, upcoming vote on EAGLE Act to eliminate per-country limit on Green Cards.(X/Ro Khanna)
US lawmakers, Ro Khanna highlight urgent need to address backlog affecting Indian professionals, upcoming vote on EAGLE Act to eliminate per-country limit on Green Cards.(X/Ro Khanna)

Hosted by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora (FIIDS), the summit underscored the critical impact of the seven per cent country quota on Green Card issuance, which has resulted in staggering wait times exceeding 20 years for many Indian immigrants.

What is the EAGLE Act?

The spotlight intensifies with the upcoming vote in the US House of Representatives on the EAGLE Act, legislation poised to overhaul the immigration system by eliminating the per-country limit on employment-based Green Cards and increasing the limit on family-sponsored Green Cards from 7% to 15%.

The White House has thrown its weight behind the bill, recognizing its potential to alleviate the protracted backlog that has ensnared hundreds of thousands of immigrants, predominantly from India and China.

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US Representative Ro Khanna, a prominent advocate for immigration reform, has been a vocal proponent of the EAGLE Act. Khanna emphasized the economic benefits of lifting arbitrary per-country Green Card caps, citing, “The EAGLE Act will benefit our economy by lifting the arbitrary per-country green card caps to bring down our decades-long backlog for immigrants. I am deeply disappointed that my amendment to include it in this year's National Defense Authorization Act was not given a vote.”

“The EAGLE Act is a bipartisan and common sense bill. 350 amendments were made in order by the Rules Committee but my amendment to add it to the NDAA was blocked by the Republican supermajority on the committee.”

Expressing disappointment over the exclusion of his amendment to include the EAGLE Act in the National Defense Authorization Act, Khanna reiterated, “Our industrial base needs more workers to maintain a strong military and outpace our adversaries. Immigrants help fill a critical shortage and bring vital skills to our economy, supporting all Americans.”

“Per-country green card caps cause unproductive backlogs and ignore the realities of our workforce. We must end H1B abuse by foreign outsourcing companies. This abuse decreases wages and harms workers.”

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David J. Bier, Associate Director of Immigration Studies at the Cato Institute, has highlighted the dire situation faced by skilled Indian immigrants, projecting wait times of up to 90 years under current laws: “Skilled Indian immigrants will suffer the most from this backlog, with more than two lakh likely to die before they could conceivably receive a green card (absent a change in the law). Another roughly 90,000 children of immigrants—mainly Indians—will ‘age out’ of green card eligibility during their waits. Only about half of the pending Indian immigrants will likely receive green cards under current law.”

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