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Clogged Immigration System Puts Indian Immigrant Families at Risk of Being Separated

Over 300,000 immigrant children whose lawful presence in the United States depend on visas nearing termination face forced removal from the country as the clogged immigration system fails to process their applications for other visas on time. This includes children of skilled Indian immigrants in the country on a variety of visas.

The issue dates as far back as 2002, with Congress recognizing that thousands of families would be torn apart as thousands of children grow past the age limitation for their respective visas and cannot acquire green cards on time due to setbacks in the application system.

In response to the problem, then-president George W. Bush enacted the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), giving the affected children time to receive their green cards or seek other viable visas to remain in the country. While the CSPA brought some relief to immigrant families, it was not a perfect solution. As many immigration rights advocates note, the CSPA may have prevent some families from being separated, but some families were definitely not as fortunate.

The backlog in the green card application system, it turns out, was too much for a band-aid solution to work around. The CSPA itself also failed to cover immigrants who had already aged out of dependency, while many who would have fallen under the protection of the Act were not informed in time.

Such is the story of Sri Ponnada, an Indian immigrant who was able to stay in the country on a dependent visa. She later acquired an F-1 student visa after coming of age and, now a software engineer for Microsoft, attempted to get an H-1B visa but did not make the lottery. She now depends on her green card application, which she fears may not come through in time.

“Indian and Chinese nationals bear the brunt of these antiquated, ineffectual laws, as their backlogs are significantly longer than other countries due to their higher populations,” claims Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer who has served as an adviser on immigration policy for numerous agencies.

According to the Cato Institute, Indian applicants are so vastly disadvantaged that those seeking an EB-2 visa would have to wait more than a century to acquire one.

The Trump administration’s hardline anti-immigration stance only adds to the difficulties of lawfully present immigrants. The H-1B visa, which allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to stay in the country for 6 years at most, was difficult enough to acquire what with the low cap. Now, H-1B applicants face greater documentation requirements and scrutiny as the government cracks down on supposed visa fraud.

If you want to learn more about the H-1B visa program, or want assistance on applying for a visa with your employer, the Lyttle Law Firm is ready to help. Schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle for a full review of your credentials. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225.

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