Over 200,000 Indians waiting for family-sponsored Green Card

More than 2,27,000 Indians are still in the waiting line for family-sponsored legal permanent residency or the Green Card in the U.S., according to news reports quoting official data.

The latest data reveals that the more than 2,27,000 Indians are among the nearly four million such people waiting in line. The Congressional cap for such family-sponsored permanent residency is nearly 200,000 every year.

The largest number of the waitlist is from Mexico, with nearly 1.5 million people, followed by India with 2,27,000 and China with nearly 1,80,000, according to a report in Republic World last week.

The Nov. 28 report said most people who are among the waiting list for Green Card are siblings of U.S. citizens and under the current law, the citizens can sponsor their family members along with blood relatives for permanent legal residency.

According to a BOUNDLESS report earlier, because Congress has capped the number of employment-sponsored green cards at 140,000 per year (about 13% of the total), the majority of immigrants in the U.S. obtain their green cards based on family relationship.

This is even true for immigrants from China and India, in part because of country-specific caps that further constrain employment-based immigration from large nations. As of now, many more Chinese and Indian nationals obtain green cards through family sponsors, compared with employer sponsors.

The report noted that in May this year President Trump announced a new immigration reform plan, including dramatic changes to how green cards would be allocated. Although this proposal has limited prospect of becoming law in the near term, it indicates how skeptics of family-based immigration would like to change the current system.

Trump’s proposal, BOUNDLESS said, would maintain the same number of new green cards issued each year (about 1.1 million), but reallocate over 500,000 of them to a “points-based” category designed to reward “extraordinary talent,” “professional and specialized vocations,” and “exceptional academic track records.”

This would apparently be accomplished by eliminating family-sponsored green cards for the parents, adult children, and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as the spouses and young children of permanent residents. The Diversity Visa program would be eliminated and reallocated as well.

Trump wants to abolish this 'chain immigration'. On the other hand, the Democrats have actively opposed Trump from abolishing the system of family-sponsored immigration.

Prakash Khatri, a Maryland-based immigration attorney and former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman appointed by the Bush Administration told this correspondent earlier this year referring to the controversial "public charge" rule that under the family unification program Indian Americans bring a whole lot of people, including their parents and in-laws, elderly people, and they become permanent residents before they get citizenship. Most of these people will take Medicaid and sometimes food stamps, Khatri said at that time.

Meanwhile, last week the USCIS announced that it would start accepting the H-1B petitions from April 1, 2020 for the next fiscal year.

“The electronic registration process will dramatically streamline processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange, and will provide an overall cost savings to petitioning employers," the USCIS was quoted as saying in news reports Dec 6.

Under this new process, employers seeking H-1B workers subject to the cap, or their authorized representatives, will complete a registration process that requires only basic information about their company and each requested worker.

The USCIS will open an initial registration period from March 1 through March 20, 2020. The H-1B random selection process, if needed, will then be run on those electronic registrations. Only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, a media release said.

"By streamlining the H-1B cap selection process with a new electronic registration system, USCIS is creating cost savings and efficiencies for petitioners and the agency, as only those selected will now be required to submit a full petition,” said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans.

"The agency completed a successful pilot testing phase, which included sessions with industry representatives, and implementation of the registration system will further the goal of modernizing USCIS from a paper-based to an online-filing agency,” he said.

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