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Lawmakers Praise USCIS Announcement to Keep H-1B Visa Program

VisaProgram-300x200Top U.S. lawmakers praised the Trump administration’s decision to decline proposals ending the H-1B non-immigrant visa program, pointing out that holders of the visa make substantial contributions to the American economy and drive innovation in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of skilled foreign workers depend on the H-1B, a special non-immigrant U.S. visa that allows American businesses to hire graduate-level foreigners with considerable skill in highly specialized fields such as accounting, technology, and those “requiring specific theoretical and technical expertise.” These industries also tend to have a shortage of trained domestic employees, hence the concern of companies, particularly in the tech sector, over plans to scrap the visa program.

According to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, “The Trump administration’s decision to back off this counterproductive proposal is a positive step forward. H-1B visa holders, many of whom become small business owners and job creators, drive innovation and help build and strengthen our economy.”

Gabbard made the statement shortly after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would not be accepting any proposals to drive out the thousands of foreign workers under the H-1B back to their home countries. She added that White House’s decision to back off what she calls a counterproductive proposal is a step in the right direction, as H-1B visa holders, many of whom go on to become small business owners and provide jobs to their communities.

Relief for H-1B Visa Holders

The USCIS announcement comes as a relief for H-1B visa holders, as there have been several reports that the Trump administration was looking into tightening its grip on the program, potentially resulting in the mass deportation of the thousands who depend on the visa to stay and legally work in the country.

Gabbard, along with fellow Congressman Kevin Yoder, who also has a seat in the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, wrote to President Trump last Friday to compel him to reject the incoming proposal that would lead to the deportation of H-1B visa holders in the process of acquiring permanent residency in the US.

“I have seen personally how high-skilled immigrants have helped my community and so many others across the country by filling critical labor shortages in specific industries, preventing employers from fleeing overseas to fill them,” Yoder writes. “These are the people who have helped America grow and thrive as a nation of immigrants and we need to make sure our system continues to value those who are following our laws and doing the right thing.”

The National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan and non-profit research organization, found that, among the private companies worth at least $1 billion, more than half have a foreigner as one of the company’s founders.