NEW YORK – Perhaps, it’s just common sense that prevailed. Perhaps, it’s the pressure from several Indian American pro-immigration groups who rallied outside the White House, and elsewhere, for immigration reforms.
Or, perhaps, it’s the sheer number of stories in mainstream media on the likely devastation faced by tens of thousands of skilled immigrants and their families, if the Trump Administration stuck to their stubborn ways and eliminated the H-4 visa Employment Authorization Document.
Whatever it may be, the end result is that work permit for some H-4 visa holders – which many thought would be taken away beginning of March, as had been announced by the US government earlier – is still in effect, but with a caveat. The Trump Administration has pushed off the likely end of this work permit to June of this year.
So, what’s going on?
It’s more than likely that the Trump Administration is feeling the heat from pro-skilled workers immigration groups, and bipartisan legislators on Capitol Hill, who want, to rightly so, allow skilled immigrants to be gainfully employed in this country, contribute to the economy; not just stay at home, in a state of depression, become second class residents because of shameful partisan politics.
The Trump Administration also is likely hoping that in the next three months, the process of legal immigration reforms is initiated on Capitol Hill, in tandem with DACA reforms.
If a solution is found in the next three months to help get legal immigrants get a Green Card faster than the present crazy timeframe of 90 years or more for those who apply for a Green Card today, then eliminating the H-4 visa EAD wouldn’t raise so much heat for the administration.
That way, the Trump Administration would be able to keep their ultra conservative base happy – read as, those voters who reject all immigrants, including skilled workers, as scum. Plus, not have to face the heat from those critics who lambast the Trump Administration as being hypocrites for saying that the purpose of immigration reforms is to bring only the best and brightest into the country, while keeping those very kind of immigrants from able to work while living in the country, shun them.
By now, it’s clear that Trump has found a political mantra which is working fine for him, as shown by his increase in approval ratings of late: keep promises he made to his base. He owes his job at the White House to them, and he is showing gratitude as best as he can.
However, it’s also by now clear that pushback by those who won’t easily be bullied works best with him, as can be seen by the numerous court cases that are awaiting judgment, from immigration to travel bans. So, the pushback by angry immigrants who feel the administration is showing scant regard for their hard work and playing by the rules for decades, is totally justified.
Following rallies outside the White House, Capitol Hill, and elsewhere, late last month, another rally took place Bellevue, in Washington state, to plead the case for highly-skilled immigrants, stuck in limbo because of the huge logjam in wait for a Green Card.
Organized by GreenCard Reforms, a new organization by some Indian Americans, the rally which saw some 500 people demonstrate, was to urge the administration to hurry up Green Cards for 300,000 primary applicants, and their families, for a Green Card.
The Bellevue Reporter noted the organization’s president Sampat Shivangi saying this is the most important issue for the Indian diaspora in the U.S., as it impacts many physicians, engineers, teachers, nurses and medical professionals.
Many of these high-skilled immigrants who came to the Seattle area for tech and other jobs are stuck in a potentially decades-long green card backlog.
Among the signs that people held during the rally were messages such as “Remove Per Country Limits for employment based Green cards,” “300,000 waiting for 90 years,” “What did I do wrong,” “Break the Green Card Backlog,” “40,000 H4 kids will age out” and “Include employment based Immigration in the conversations.”
If the Trump Administration would eliminate the present limit of seven percent cap on the number of high-skilled green cards issued per year, the jammed pipeline would finally flow smoothly.
It would help skilled immigrants become permanent residents in a regulated manner within a reasonable timeframe. It would help America jumpstart the process of legal reforms to bring talented workforce in, help integrate them into society. Not make them feel vulnerable and stigmatized, as tens of thousands of families of skilled workers today feelm courtesy of the Trump Administration.
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)