FIIDS USA urges Biden administration to extend immigration relief to spouses and children of backlogged H-1B applicants

Author:Ashima Grover 2024-06-22 02:50 12

On Tuesday, June 18, Joe Biden launched a new initiative to offer immigration relief to up to half a million undocumented spouses of Americans. Although the sitting president's election-year move was clearly recognised as a sharp contrasting response to front-running Republican rival Donald Trump's restrictive plans for mass deportations, his decision ultimately lit up a hopeful path to citizenship for many undocumented family members who have been living in the country for at least 10 years. Additionally, the new Biden policy also extended support to around 50,000 children (under 21) with an American citizen as their parent.

DACA recipient Javier Quiroz Castro introduces U.S. President Joe Biden, before the announcement an executive action to provide immigration relief for spouses of U.S. citizens, coinciding with the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2024.(REUTERS)

Despite the president's methods extending welcome relief to the eligible parties, spouses and children of backlogged Green Card applicants weren't included in the newly announced legality of status and continue to be plagued by excessive Green Card backlog.

FIIDS demand Biden administration include family members of backlogged Green Card applicants in new policy

The Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora (FIIDS) spotlighted this exclusion in an official press release addressed to President Biden on June 21. Now, demanding the US president to “Include Documented Dreamers and Spouses of Backlogged Green Card Applicants in Newly Announced Legal Status and Work Permits," they've started a petition and are spreading the word online.

According to its official website, FIIDS is a US-based non-profit organisation that aims “to engage Indian—South Asian diaspora in the United States to further strengthen collaboration in international affairs, education, science and technology, geopolitical, trade and economic policy, counter-terrorism, international peace, and people-to-people engagement.”

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With its headquarters in Washington, D.C., FIIDS launched a Change.Org petition titled “Pres. Biden: Extend EAD/GC Immigration Relief to Legal Dreamers Stuck in GC Backlog.”

Their official press release reads:

"On June 18th, President Biden announced that undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. for 10 or more years can apply for expedited citizenship. Additionally, undocumented children with college education will be eligible for immediate work visas and future legal residency. We recognize President Biden’s commitment to keeping American families together and his intentions to promote family unity and strengthen the economy.

On this important initiative, we regretfully bring to attention that this announcement missed an opportunity to include hundreds of thousands of spouses of legal, tax-paying, contributing immigrants who are stuck in long green card waits due to the 7% country-wise quota. Their U.S.-educated children are becoming out of status at 21. They too have dreams; they are dreamers too. Just because they are legal, they shouldn’t be excluded from such measures.

We respectfully request extending this compassionate offer to include spouses of documented immigrants on H1B who are waiting for green card (backlogs) for 10+ years to get work permit/EAD . Allowing these spouses to obtain EAD and apply for separate green card without being limited by their spouse's employment-based green card status, and granting their children immediate EAD based on their education, would keep families together and enable them to contribute to the US economy with their full potential."

FIIDS USA also foregrounded the concerning issue on social media. “Change Petition https://chng.it/w5RMPNTvZB for Spouses and children of long backlogged H1Bs #gcbacklog also have dreams, they are dreamers too! Extend immigration relief ! EAD for them !@DcWalaDesi @lalitkjha @POTUS @IndianEmbassyUS @RoKhanna @CongressmanRaja @ShriThanedar @RepJayapal @khanderao @DrSJaishankar @IndianEmbassyUS,” they tweeted on X/Twitter.

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Their tweet was a direct response to President Biden's June 18 video message, which was captioned, “We are a better and stronger nation because of Dreamers.” In the clip, POTUS is heard addressing the nation: “A few days ago, we marked the 12th anniversary of taking care of Dreamers that President Obama and I put in place. These young people known as Dreamers – Hispanics, South Asians and more – who came to American as children, only know American as their home and had been able to live and learn out of the shadows. So many of them have graduated from high school and college and are starting families on their own. We're a much better and stronger nation because of Dreamers like Javier, who just introduced me. So, today I'm announcing new measures to clarify and speed up worse visas to help people including Dreamers who have graduated from US colleges and universities, landed jobs in high-demand, high-skill professions. It's the right to do.”

India-born H-4 dependent “aging out” of his mother's work visa due to excessive H-1B backlog

FIIDS raises a significant demand for the family members of Green Card applicants who are still waiting in a seemingly never-ending queue of petitioners, further plagued by an immense backlog. Their address to Biden comes just days after the youth-led organisation 'Improve the Dream' spotlighted the heart-breaking case of India-born Roshan Taroll, who's been forced to self-deport from the US after “aging out” of his mother's work visa.

Taroll originally came to the US with his family on an H-4 dependent visa when he was ten years old. His mother passed away before getting her green card and now that he's past the age of 21, he's “aged out” of his mother's petition. 

He eventually converted to an F-1 student visa to attend Boston College, following which he continued to work for a semiconductor company on his Optional Practical Training (OPT). Nevertheless, all his hard work fell to the ground after he wasn't selected in the H-1B lottery despite his company trying to secure his visa thrice. He's been pushed into self-deportation and exposed to the risk of family separation. (Read more here: India-born H-4 visa holder forced to self-deport from US after ‘aging out’ from his mother's green card petition)

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Title:FIIDS USA urges Biden administration to extend immigration relief to spouses and children of backlogged H-1B applicants

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