Biden's immigration reforms

Biden’s immigration reforms push faces speed humps

US President Joe Biden is in a hurry to fine-tune America’s immigration rules which will in turn help Indian migrants get to live in the US permanently. The administration is pushing the Congress to push through Biden’s immigration reforms that would make it possible for Indian doctors and other professionals to get their US green cards faster.

This has been confirmed by President Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki in a Press Conference on March 24.

“He believes that there should be faster processing, that our immigration system is broken at many levels,” she said at the press conference.

“He is eager to for Congress to move forward with action there.”

She was replying to a question (at March 24 Press Conference by Speaker 15) about a demonstration by Indian doctors in the US who had been in the frontlines of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic asking for the elimination of country quotas for green cards that would enable them to get permanent residence status faster.

Asked about the delays in processing work authorisation for spouses of those holding H1-B and L1 visas, Psaki said: I think part of the reason we want to push for action on immigration on the (Capitol) Hill is to move forward with expediting the processing and doing that on several levels, including a number of the visas that you just introduced or just conveyed. So that’s part of the reason why we think that’s such an important piece to move on.

Indian doctors held a demonstration outside Congress last week demanding the removal of the country quotas (26,000) to expedite their green cards, Last month, Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill in Congress that would remove the country quotas for green cards.

Speaker 15: (question) “A number of Indian American doctors, whose job is to create peace during this COVID era, they are on the hill protesting against and demanding elimination of country hold off of green cards. I know the White House has sent legislation to the (Capitol) Hill and that talks about that, but they’re still protesting for a faster implementation of that facet of the bill. What is president’s message to those doctors?”

Jen Psaki:  “I think the president would reiterate that he believes that there should be faster processing, that our immigration system is broken at many levels of the system and that he is eager for Congress to move forward with action there”.

There have been unexplained, inordinate delays in processing. Indians whose immigration applications were approved in 2009 and skilled workers and professionals whose applications were ‘cleared’ in 2010 are still waiting for their green cards.

Those wait times could run to centuries for given the backlogs and size of the immigration queue.

Biden administration faces huge challenge because Republicans demand stringent restrictions on illegal immigration. The administration requires backing of some members of the Donald Trump’s Republican party in the Senate to push the changes through.

Becoming a citizen
Becoming a US citizen

Earlier attempts to remove country caps (being demanded by protesting Indians) failed despite the House in 2019 and the Senate in December 2020 passing separate versions of the legislation which lapsed on technicalities.

US immigration has had a colourful history with President Obama allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work, only to be disallowed by President Trump and again being allowed by President Biden in his first week of office.

US watchers have been of the view the Biden administration plans an immigration amnesty for all illegal entrants in the US – once and for all to clear the decks and achieve a totally restored system of immigration control.

For now, Biden’s immigration reforms face challenges, what happens next, only time will tell.