Urging American lawmakers to pass legislation that closes the archaic per country quota for legal permanent residency in the US. A group of frontline Indian-American healthcare professionals, stuck in the 150-plus-year Green Card backlog, held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Capitol.
A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document given to immigrants to the US. However, this is proof that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently in the country.
“India is a place that is known for a billion or more individuals yet the number of green cards it gets is the same as a country as small as Iceland. There is no cap on H-1B visas though and Indians make 50% of the H-1B workforce. This disparity between H-1B and green cards has created an inhuman backlog. Also, that is adversely affecting our professional and personal lives,” they said.
Indian IT professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on H-1B work visas. Are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system. Which imposes a seven percent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Card or permanent legal residency.
Indian-US Frontline Healthcare Professionals in Green Card Backlog
Nevertheless, the protesters said that the fairness bill removes country caps and allots green cards on a first come first serve basis. It passed in the House of Representatives by 365 votes in 2019. And its Senate equivalent S386 passed the Senate in 2020. Presently the bill has returned to the House as a modified version.
Also, they asked Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren to bring it to vote as a bipartisan solution to end the suffering of skilled professionals.
“The Green Card backlog is taking a toll on the frontline health care workers and their families. They are living in fear and anxiety,” Dr. Namita Dhiman, a child, and adolescent psychiatrist said.
“US President Joe Biden should end the Green Card backlog by permitting USCIS to use unused green cards. From the previous years for the frontline healthcare workers in the backlog,” she said.
“Coronavirus has been ruthless to frontline healthcare workers and the green card backlog makes it miserable. However, this is leading to serious mental health issues in this group,” Dhiman added.
Moreover, Baltimore-based Dr. Santanu Samanta, a radiation oncologist, said he feels threatened about the consequences. To his family and his job if there is no change brought in the Green Card system.
“I would frantically need to see changes that would help us become permanent green holders to serve individuals in this country,” he said.
“We need immediate relief from the miserable Green Card backlog,” he said.