Biden’s visa restoration move will not be easy, says expert

Ritu Jha-

In an aim to restore America’s openness to the rest of the world, the number one task President Joe Biden undertook within hours after taking the oath, overturn actions taken by the Trump administration.

He the first day on Jan 20, has signed 17 executive orders and immigration was one among them, which was part of his commitment to modernizing the immigration system, within the first 100 days.

The US Citizenship Act of 2021 sent to Congress, Jan 20, establishes a new system to responsibly manage and secure US borders, keep families and communities safe, and better manage migration. This bill if get passed along with given legal status to millions of undocumented also clears employment-based visa backlogs, recaptures unused visas, reduces lengthy wait times, and eliminates per-country visa caps.

The bill makes it easier for graduates of US universities with advanced STEM degrees to stay in the United States; improves access to green cards for workers in lower-wage sectors, and eliminates other unnecessary hurdles for employment-based green cards.

The bill provides dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorization, and children are prevented from “aging out” of the system. The bill also creates a pilot program to stimulate regional economic development, gives DHS the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions, and incentivizes higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers.

The American tech giants like Apple, Google, the Chamber of Commerce, and many others, welcomed Biden’s move but is it that easy.

Tejas Shah, Partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP based in Chicago, welcoming the quick move by president Biden, sounded hopeful and skeptical at the same time.

Explaining the above-told indica News that this proposed bill is a refreshing change from much of the anti-immigration legislation that was proposed over the last four years under the previous President. This bill would accomplish many important objectives, including providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and TPS holders, addressing inequities created by previous immigration legislation, and assisting legal immigrants.

And Indian immigrants, in particular, would benefit from the end of country quotas and the provisions designed to help aging-out H-4s.

“Passage will not be easy, as Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republican Senators even if all Democrats vote for the bill,” Tejas told to indica News.

“Like any other legislation, this bill is likely to be modified as a result of compromise,” Shah said and added, however, this bill is an important contribution that would significantly refresh and modernize US immigration guidelines. It should be noted that business groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce have already expressed support for this bill.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement Wednesday, January 20, said,“We welcome President Biden’s commitment to pursuing comprehensive immigration reform that reflects the American values of justice, fairness and dignity. This effort will strengthen American communities and the pathways to the opportunity this country has long fostered,”

“In the weeks and months to come, business leaders look forward to working with the Administration, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress, to achieve bipartisan, practical and comprehensive solutions to fix our broken immigration system, including a permanent solution for Dreamers that includes a path to citizenship.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai also put out a statement in support of the Biden administration’s new immigration effort. “We applaud @POTUS‘s quick action on COVID relief, the Paris Climate Accord, and immigration reform. Google has supported action on these important issues & we look forward to working with the new administration to help the US recover from the pandemic + grow our economy,” Pichai said in a tweet.

“We are thankful that President Biden and Vice President Harris are following through on their commitment to send a bill to Congress to fix our broken immigration system,” president Todd Schulte said in a statement Wednesday.

He added, “What needs to happen in short order is the House and Senate must move legislation that is signed into law.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg helped found, an immigration advocacy organization, in 2013.

Twitter also put out a statement in support of the move. The “DACA Executive Order signed this evening delivers hope for #Dreamers. Diversity makes the US, our company, and our world better,” the company said in a tweet.

Last summer, former President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending a number of visa programs, including guest worker visas, like the H-1B. Tech companies commonly use these visas to recruit talented employees from overseas. After this proclamation was issued, tech companies, from Apple to Google, put out statements admonishing the Trump administration’s guest-worker ban.

In the past, tech companies have argued that comprehensive immigration reform would benefit the US economy, largely focusing on how to improve visas for the high-skilled workers these companies employ.

TechNet, a technology trade group, signed onto a National Immigration Forum letter to Congress Wednesday encouraging members to quickly approve the Biden administration’s immigration plans. Dozens of TechNet’s members also signed onto the letter, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

“We can create a modern, humane, and effective immigration system that upholds the best of America’s promise: to be a nation where people can come from around the world to work, contribute, and build a better life for themselves, their families, and our society as a whole,” the TechNet letter said. “As we recover from COVID-19, the essential contributions of immigrants here today, and those to come tomorrow, will be critical to the health and well-being of American workers and their families.”