Work visa holders argue among themselves over legislation, while expert argues against the program and the Green Cards that could follow
Indians waiting for decades to get an employment-based green card are losing hope in the Trump administration and going off on tangents that increase friction within the community. Meanwhile, at least one expert says that those concerns are irrelevant since both H-1B work visas and Green Cards are not good for the country.
Indians have expressed bewilderment that President Trump who has been extolling the skilled immigrant also endorses the Hire American Buy America policy. In addition, he also wants the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to strictly monitor applications filed years ago. They can see that this has led to a sharp increase in the number of requests for evidence (RFEs) from the agency.
“My client is a victim of “Hire American and Buy American,” said Michael E Piston, attorney for Srinivasa Narasimhalu, a software engineer who was on an H-1B visa and who, after being denied a Green Card, filed a civil action against the USCIS in the United States District of Columbia.
Narasimhalu was employed by Delta Information Systems, Inc as a computer professional with USCIS authorization from November 1, 2011, to February 27, 2018. He was applying for an extension of his H-1B visa, as he has done several times in the past when his application was rejected.
According to Piston, “In the past, we and most other migration attorney have had no problem in getting H-1B visas approved for computer system analysts. This was routine; the computer system analyst application process was simply thought to be almost automatic. And now we are seeing a 180-degree reverse.”
According to the conservative Cato Institute, anywhere between 230,000 and 2 million Indian nationals will have to wait between 50 and 250 years for green cards. The Green Card backlog, always an issue, has grown in recent months causing several immigration groups to be worried.
Aman Kapoor, co-founder of Immigration Voice, the group that since 2006 has been working to get rid of the country wise cap, believes a lack of unity within the Indian community has hindered the passing of HR 392, the bill with 321 co-sponsors that he believes is the solution to the Green Card backlog.
When asked aren’t you carrying a baggage, giving hope of getting a green card, and again failed to get the Bill HR 392, that has over 321 co-sponsors, he would blame the other Indian organizations for creating a confusion in Washington.
Kapoor said, “It frustrates me. There is a lot of baggage, no doubt. Then there are different groups that rallied outside the White House and said ‘Hindu loves Trump’ and ‘Trump love Hindus.’” He was alluding to the rally hosted by the Republican Hindu Coalition.
“Democrat officials saw that rally and were really upset. I have been asking for an apology,” he said. “The Democrats are asking why are Hindus so special and not Muslim or Christians.”
Sharing further, he pointed to the op-ed published in various media about caste.
“I don’t see how caste is related to the per-country bill,” Kapoor said.
Another Indian group — India Civil Watch (ICW) – unequivocally rejected the rank opportunism of “Hindus for Trump” [HFT] that made it to offer to pay for President Trump’s proposed wall at the Mexican border as long they could stay in the US, he said.
But then IV itself had offered $4 billion to build the wall.
The Republicans discussed the bill. The House that leadership told him it still fell short of many billions of dollars for the project, Kapoor said.
“The community is not united in one single bill and has their own agenda,” he alleged.
“Some people will talk about caste and some talk about Hinduism – as if only Hindus are going to get more Green Cards,” he said. “I would rather have people work for the bill – which they don’t because they want to change it. But that is not how Congress works,” Kapoor said.
He said he is confident the bill will pass, and asserted that if passed it would reduce the time to get a Green Card down from 70 years to seven.
Prof Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California, Davis, said he thought HR 392 is stuck because H-1B visas and Green Cards both take away jobs from the American people.
He asked, “Why do we have H-1B cap in the first place?”
He argues in spite of the economy doing well many educated people are struggling financially because the job market has been restructured to allow for more temp workers than before.
Speaking of IV, Matloff said, “I would really like to see the people who are pushing the bill admit their presence in the US have negatively impacted a lot of American workers. They are not willing to admit that. I would like to see them that admit that the H-1B program and employer-sponsored Green Card programs have hurt many US citizens and permanent residence. Then we can talk.”
When told it was unlikely they would do that, he laughed and said, “It’s difficult for me to support that bill when I can’t support the people it benefits. I would like them to acknowledge the problem. If Immigration Voice were to say, we should also tighten up the H-1B program … I can support [them].”
When pointed out that IV has never actually advocated for the H-1B visa program, Matloff came back, asking, “Show me one public statement where they say let’s end the H-1B visa program. They have never said anything. They know it’s an abusive program.”
According to him, “They [IV] have hired a very high-profile attorney. I am sure this guy is really expensive and makes all kinds of promises to them about HR 392. But even if they have 300-plus cosponsors, it’s meaningless. It’s meaningless because their situation is not a priority with Congress. It’s not a bargaining chip. So, maybe sometime in the future, there may be some sort of relief,” he said.
Kapoor disagreed with that assessment.