Rallies held in New Jersey, Pennsylvania to protest Green Card backlog

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NEW YORK – Hundreds of skilled Indian Americans and other immigrants came together to show support and solidarity for Indian professionals in the US who are stuck in the Green Card backlog with EB2 or EB3 visas, at rallies in Trenton, New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The New Jersey rally was organized by the GCReforms and was attended by many prominent leaders who spoke at the event, including Democratic leader Upendra Chivkula who serves as a Commissioner on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; Jeremy Julius, the Deputy Director of Constituent Services from Sen. Menendez’s office; Kevin Calogera, the Council President and former chairman of the Old Bridge Democratic party; Sridath Reddy of the Council Republican Party in Parsippany and Karanveer Singh Pannu, author of “Bullying of Sikh American Children” and an intern at Sen. Booker’s office and Assemblyman Greenwald’s office.

“We need more skilled immigrants, we need the good and smart people, people from India,” Calogera said, adding that he loved Diwali as much as he loved skilled immigrants.

Kevin Calogera addresses the audience at the New Jersey rally.

GCReforms also organized the rally in Pennsylvania where many prominent leaders spoke as well, including Audrey Russo, the President of the Pittsburgh Technology Council and co-host of TechVibe Radio on KDKA; Sanjay Chopra, a pioneer entrepreneur who founded successful tech based startups like Online Choice and Intellions, and currently serves as the CEO and co-founder of Congnistx; Dr. Krishan Kumar Agarwal and Dr. Sai Patil.

Chopra talked about how the Green Card backlog is hurting the economy while Dr. Agarwal and Dr. Patil voiced the support of removing the country limits in the employment-based category.

Audrey mentioned how immigrants are playing a vital role in building U.S. economy and how the Green Card backlog is truly hurting the country in every way possible.

Everyone at both rallies have asked for the passing of the bill HR 392 and S281, which removes the per country limits in the employment based categories and makes the system fair.

An “H4 Kid” speaks about her concern at the New Jersey rally.

Many signs which were held during the rally read: “Remove Per Country Limits for employment based Green cards,” “300,000 waiting for 90 years,” “What did I do wrong,” “H4 EAD, We start Small businesses, Create local jobs, Help grow local economy,” “Break the Green Card Backlog,” “40,000 H4 kids will age out,” “Include employment based Immigration in the conversations,” “H4 Kids,” “H4EAD” and “What did we do wrong.”

In the House of Representatives, the Remove Per Country Limits Bill HR 392 has the biggest bi-partisan support with every three out of four Congress members supporting the issue, yet the bill is not getting voted on and it’s high time the Congress, Senate and White House works on this issue, the organizers of the rallies said.

H4 Kids also shared their stories of how they could be deported when they become 21 as they will have no status. They will need to be enrolled as a student or work on a visa, to be able to stay in status.

They also raised the issue of equality as well as the issues they face at work and how it impacts them.

The gathering in Trenton, New Jersey.

There are 150,000 American-born kids who may be displaced if their parents don’t get Green Cards on time or if they lose their job and have to leave the country.

At the Pennsylvania rally, Deepthi Koneru and Senhal Shantanu Barde discussed the impacts of revoking Employment Authorization Documents issued to eligible spouses on H4 visa, who are waiting for green cards to be issued for a long time.

These permits were hard-fought for, widely supported by all communities and will mostly impact women, who will have to give up their careers overnight if they want to keep their family together, they said.

GCReforms urged New Jersey lawmakers to request the support of the Senator Corey Booker and Senator Bob Menendez on this important issue as well as New Jersey Congress members to work with the Judiciary committee chair Bob Goodlatte to bring the bill HR 392 to vote and the S281 to vote.

The gathering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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