Congressional Leaders Push To End Country Limits On Green Cards

Featured & Cover Congressional Leaders Push To End Country Limits On Green Cards

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers strongly advocated, for the elimination of the seven per cent country-based quota for permanent residency and called for the overhaul of “the broken immigration system,” at the Tech Immigration Summit hosted by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora (FIIDS), on March 11th, 2024, at the US Capitol in Washington DC.

Commending the achievements of immigrants, Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, from California, emphasized, “It’s so important that you’re here for a rational immigration policy. We know that immigrants have helped build Silicon Valley and so many of the companies…that have created so many jobs. [They] have been founded by immigrants, from India” and other countries.

“That is part of our comparative advantage as a country,” he added while noting that he is proud to co-sponsor and lead the EAGLE [Equal Access to Green cards for Legal Employment] Act which would eliminate country caps.

Letting corporations underpay individuals on an H1-B visa harms American workers and the families relying on them, Khanna cautioned while affirming that a path to transition to a green card, and ultimately citizenship, would not only raise wages but also benefit American workers and immigrant families alike.

Congressional Leaders Push To End Country Limits On Green CardsSupporting the EAGLE Act on the House Floor, Khanna said, “The reality is we need immigrants to help build some of the critical technology that is going to keep us ahead of China and keep our military strong and our industrial base strong. The EAGLE Act benefits all American workers by lifting the arbitrary per country Green Card cap to bring down the decades long backlog.”

Another Congressman from California, Eric Swalwell underscored, “We can either have a fix, or we can have the fiction. And a fix would mean addressing the workforce crisis that we have in America with a comprehensive immigration plan… A fix would mean of course, we put more resources on our southern border as it relates to security…” adding, “the fiction would be to just politicize this issue and see it as an issue rather than something that needs to be solved…”

Swalwell went on to say, “I know your story. Many of you came from your country…” alluding to Indian-Americans while acknowledging challenges they faced in the United States for a better livelihood. “So, if we want to take on the bigger challenges, we need the fix. If we want to cure cancer in America, we need to fix a broken immigration system,” he added.

Congressman Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania said, “Individuals from certain countries” referring to India “make up larger percentages of those seeking green cards and thousands of these visas go unused every year.”

He pointed out that it is a “missed opportunity, not just for the people applying for the visas but for the United States of America to access this kind of brain power.” He said bill HR 1535, “Eliminating Backlogs Act of 2023” augments the annual allocation of employment-based immigration visas. Furthermore, it grants exemption to the visas facilitated by the bill from the per country caps, a measure which he is proud to endorse.

Cartwright also weighed in on another bill HR 1044, “Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020” which he co-sponsored. This bill “increases the per country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7 per cent of the total number of such visas available that year to 15 per cent and eliminates the per-country cap for employment-based immigrant visas,” he added.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois while underscoring the widespread rallying behind by US Members of Congress for the immigration issue expressed, “Indian Americans are the fastest growing ethnic minority in this country. They are the most prosperous ethnic group in this country” adding this group stands out as the most highly educated in the nation, which is why he consistently lends his support to these bills. He further said that his repeated “co-sponsoring all of these bills” reflects his unwavering belief in their importance and his desire for their success stories to resonate continuously.

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