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Bill for increasing allotment of Green Cards introduced in US House


(G.N.S) Dt. 12
A legislation that seeks to push for a merit-based immigration system and increase the allotment of Green Cards by 45 per cent annually has been introduced in the US House of Representatives and may benefit Indian techies if signed into law.
Backed by the Trump administration, the legislation ‘Securing America’s Future Act’ if passed by Congress and signed into law by US President Donald Trump will end the diversity visa programme and reduce the overall immigration levels from currently averaging 1.05 million to 260,000 a year.
The legislation was introduced by House Homeland Security Committee Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Martha McSally, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Judiciary Committee Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Raul Labrador. It seeks to increase the allotment of Green Cards by an impressive 45 per cent from the current 120,000 to 175,000 per annum.
Indian-American technology professionals, who come to the US mainly on H-1B visas and opt for Green Cards or legal permanent residence status, are expected to be a major beneficiary of the ‘Securing America’s Futures Act’. As per unofficial estimate, there are nearly 500,000 Indians waiting in the queue for Green Cards and have to seek annual extensions of their H-1B visas. Many wait for decades to get their Green Cards.
The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers. The increase in the number of Green Cards per annum is likely to reduce their wait period drastically.
Having a Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, allows a person to live and work permanently in the United States. “This bill offers common-sense solutions that will finally secure our borders, better support our frontline defenders, strengthen interior enforcement, and get tough on those who break our immigration laws. With this the president at the helm, we have the opportunity to provide the security and rule of law our founding fathers intended,” said McCaul. However, the elimination of chain migration is likely to badly affect those Indian Americans who are planning to bring their other family members to the US.
Securing America’s Future Act eliminates Green Card programmes for relatives, other than spouses and minor children. At the same time, it creates a renewable temporary visa for parents of citizens to unite families at no cost to taxpayers. The legislation creates a workable agricultural guest worker programme to grow the US economy, authors of the legislation said.
Labrador said the bill will modernise America’s immigration system for the next generation, enacting conservative reforms that will make the nation strong. “This carefully crafted legislation, which is aligned with the White Houses’ immigration priorities, combines enforcement measures and increased border security to enhance public safety, ensure the door remains open to law-abiding immigrants, and restore the rule of law,” said Goodlatte.
In a late-night statement, the White House said the legislation “would accomplish the President’s core priorities for the American people”.
US will continue to be a country of immigrants: Kenneth Juster
The US will continue to be a country of immigrants and that will not change, newly- appointed American envoy Kenneth Juster said on Thursday while asserting that the ongoing review of visas, including the H-1B category, was only for “refinements”.
Juster’s comments came in the backdrop of reports that the Trump administration was considering tightening H-1B visa rules that could lead to deportation of about 750,000 Indians. The US government, however, has denied these reports. “We have 4 million Indian-Americans in the US. So we are country of immigrants and that’s what helped drive our economy and growth and made us where we are and that’s not going to change,” he said while delivering his first policy speech since taking over as ambassador.
He added that the US is looking at how various categories of visas are working and whether they need refinements. “We take more immigrants then any other country in the world,” he added. Every year, the US grants 85,000 H-1B visas to highly skilled applicants, including roughly 70 per cent for Indians, seeking employment and educational opportunities.
According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than half of privately-held companies worth $1 billion or more in the US had at least one immigrant founder, with many entering America on an H-1B visa, including the CEOs of both Microsoft and Google.
Meanwhile, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India remains engaged with the Trump administration as well as the Congress on the H-1B visa issue. “We have shared our concerns to the US side. We have told them that this is a mutually beneficial partnership which should be nurtured and supported,” he said.
Kumar said India continued to closely monitor the developments relating to the issue, adding that alarmist projections on possible difficulties to Indian professionals have been laid to rest by the Department of Homeland Security in the US.
Temporary Protected Status programme
The program that was being discussed at the White House meeting is called Temporary Protected Status. Mr. Trump has moved to end the status for immigrants from El Salvador, which could result in 200,000 Salvadorans legally in the United States being deported, and other countries.
The bipartisan Senate plan would attempt to maintain TPS in return for ending or changing a “diversity” lottery program that has been aimed at allowing up to 50,000 people a year from countries with few emigres to the United States.
Asked about Mr. Trump’s quips, White House spokesman Raj Shah said: “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
“Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” Mr. Shah said.
Another source familiar with the meeting said Mr. Trump was questioning why the United States should take in unskilled labourers from the countries under discussion and should instead welcome immigrants from nations that can offer skilled workers.

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