What is EAGLE Act? Indian American lawmaker disappointed with Biden's stand - Hindustan Times
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What is EAGLE Act? Indian American lawmaker disappointed with Biden's stand

Jun 22, 2024 08:02 AM IST

Indian-American lawmaker Ro Khanna feels “disappointed” with Biden's stand on EAGLE Act to address green cards and H-1B reforms.

This year's Tech Immigration Summit that took place at the US Capitol shed light on how the problem is haunting several Indians waiting for Green Cards as well as the burden of a backlog with the H-1B visa.

EAGLE Act aims to eliminate per-country limit on Green Cards, increase family-sponsored Green Card limit. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)(AP)
EAGLE Act aims to eliminate per-country limit on Green Cards, increase family-sponsored Green Card limit. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)(AP)

Bipartisan lawmakers stressed the critical importance of resolving these issues to maintain “high-skilled immigrants” eyeing to dwell in America.

However, since the summit, the Biden administration has not taken any significant steps to escalate the EAGLE Act, a bill aimed at addressing the “decades-long backlog for immigrants.” Indian-American lawmaker Ro Khanna expressed his disappointment with the House's lack of attention to this bipartisan bill.

“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,” he stated in an X (formerly Twitter) post.

The summit organized by the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies proved that the seven per cent country quota on Green Card is disruptive as well. This quota has led to a long time of average wait of over 20 years among the Indians holding green cards.

ALSO READ| Indian American lawmaker disappointed with Biden's stand on green cards and H-1B reforms

What is the EAGLE Act?

The EAGLE Act, or the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act, seeks to overhaul the current immigration system. It will expand employment-based Green Cards by removing the per-country limit and raising family-sponsored Green Cards from 7% to 15%. The Trump administration has endorsed the legislation as it may help address the long-standing backlog that has impacted hundreds of thousands of immigrants, many hailing from India and China.

US Senators for Colorado John Hickenlooper and Kevin Cramer reintroduced the bill back in 2023 to make it easier for American employers to hire immigrants, regardless of their country of origin. Senators Baldwin and Collins joined hands as original cosponsors.

“Arbitrary caps on employment-based visas are holding back our economy when so many industries are hurting for workers,” said Hickenlooper.

“This bill is a commonsense fix to our immigration system that will reduce visa backlogs, and fill gaps in our workforce.”

“In rural states like North Dakota, highly skilled immigrant doctors and nurses play a critical role in our healthcare workforce, sometimes providing the only specialty care available in the area,” said Cramer.

“Per-country caps are nonsensical, and it’s past time our immigration policies reflected a skills-based approach.”

ALSO READ| Indians in the US applaud Donald Trump's 'automatic' green cards for foreign graduates' promise. Can he deliver?

Khanna also expressed the same sentiment, saying, “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.”

“We must end H1B abuse by foreign outsourcing companies. This abuse decreases wages and harms workers.”

Most prospective employment-based immigrants currently live and work in America on temporary visas while waiting for a long-term visa to become available. As a result, many individuals remain in temporary status for years, sometimes over 100 years or so, due to the caps applied to their country of nationality.

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