56 US Lawmakers Ask Biden Administration to Provide Relief to High-Skilled Visa Holders

Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) led 56 of their colleagues have sent in a bipartisan letter July 28, 2023 to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging the Biden Administration to take executive action to provide relief to high-skilled employment-based visa holders.

Indian immigrants comprise the overwhelming number of H1-B visa holders and applicants.

In their letter, lawmakers request that the Administration mark all dates for the filing of employment-based visa applications in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ published Employment-Based Visa Bulletin as “current.”

Marking all dates as “current” would allow employment-based applications to be filed regardless of applicants’ country-based priority date, which would provide relief to thousands of individuals attempting to legally navigate the U.S. immigration system and could potentially also make some eligible for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to change jobs, start businesses, and travel abroad to visit family without penalty.

“Without this administrative action, which was also used during the administration of President George W. Bush, individuals are left in a constant state of limbo and, in some cases, are punished for utilizing a pathway of legal immigration by being forced to stay with one company or organization due to their green card status,” a press release from Krishnamoorthi’s office said.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to address bureaucratic delays in our legal immigration system that are holding back our economy while leaving so many families in limbo,” Krishnamoorthi is quoted saying in the press release. “By using its authority under existing law, the Administration can ease this burden while strengthening our economy and helping to create jobs.”

“Indiana is home to many hardworking immigrants who are legally working as doctors, engineers, and in other critical professions. Unfortunately, due to bureaucratic red tape in our nation’s legal immigration system, they are caught in the visa backlog and don’t have the flexibility to change jobs, start businesses, and travel abroad without penalty. I believe that it’s important for the Administration to act within current law to make it easier for these legal immigrants to navigate our immigration system and continue making a positive contribution to our nation and our economy.” said Dr. Bucshon.

“This commonsense measure proposed in the letter by Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Bucshon would be an absolute game changer to provide basic human rights—such as the ability to change jobs and travel—for nearly 1 million high skilled immigrants whose status in the United States can end at an any moment, and is entirely dependent upon the whims of their employer,” said Aman Kapoor, President of Immigration Voice. “The entire basis for this problem is a discriminatory immigration system that requires Indian nationals to have to wait 200 years for a green card while people from 150 other countries have no wait at all,” Kapoor added.

“While this larger problem cannot be fixed without legislation, our organization of over 100,000 members is absolutely thrilled with the bipartisan effort of Congressmen Krishnamoorthi, Bucshon and 56 other members of Congress to call on the Biden Administration to adopt this change,” calling on the Biden Administration “to do the right thing and heed the call of this rare bipartisan letter and give high-skilled immigrants here for over a decade the same rights to work and travel that people being paroled into the United States for the first time just this week have”.

Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Bucshon were joined on the letter by U.S. Reps. Auchincloss (D-MA), Baird (R-IN), Bera (D-CA), Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Carter (R-GA), Casar (D-TX), Castro (D-TX), Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Chu (D-CA), Crockett (D-TX), Davis (D-IL), Davis (D-NC), Dean (D-PA), Deluzio (D-PA), Dingell (D-MI), Evans (D-PA), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Fletcher (D-TX), Frankel (D-FL), Gimenez (R-FL), Goldman (D-NY), Gomez (D-CA), Harder (D-CA) Houlahan (D-PA), Jackson Lee (D-TX), Jayapal (D-WA), Johnson (D-GA), Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Keating (D-MA), Khanna (D-CA), Kim (D-NJ), Manning (D-NC), McGarvey (D-KY), McGovern (D-MA), Meng (D-NY), Morelle (D-NY), Nadler (D-NY), Pallone (D-NJ), Panetta (D-CA), Phillips (D-MN), Porter (D-CA), Raskin (D-MD), Ross (D-NC), Ruppersberger (D-MD), Salazar (R-FL), Schiff (D-CA), Smith (D-WA), Stanton (D-AZ), Swalwell (D-CA), Thanedar (D-MI), Trahan (D-MA), Trone (D-MD), Velázquez (D-NY), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Wexton (D-VA).

The letter from the U.S. Representatives is available at Krishnamoorthi.house.gov

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