Tech companies are urging the US to let visa-holder kids stay over 21

Muthumalla Dhandapani, an Indian immigrant with an H1-B visa and a Comcast employee in Sunnyvale, protests against President Trump’s immigration orders in 2017.

Santiago Mejia | Hearst Newspapers | Getty Images

A coalition of tech companies including Amazon, Google, sales force Other Over are urging the Homeland Security Department to review policies for the children of highly skilled visa holders, many of whom work for their businesses, so that they can remain over 21 without a green card.

In a letter to DHS Sect. Alejandro Mayorkas made public on Tuesday, the companies asked the Biden administration to “establish stronger aging policies.” They point to the more than 200,000 children who grew up in the United States while their parents held visas, including the highly qualified H1-B visa which is particularly common in the tech industry. Once those children turn 21, they must apply for a green card, a process that can drag on and even force some to leave in the meantime.

These companies are also encouraging Congress to approve the bipartisan Children’s Act of America create a path to citizenship for the so-called ‘documented dreamers’ in this situation.

“The politicians recognized the plight of the Dreamers – children brought to the United States by their parents, who know no other country and were left without legal status – and provided interim help through the DACA program,” the group wrote. “Now, we urge policy makers to also address the needs of the more than 200,000 children of highly skilled immigrants who risk falling through the cracks in the immigration system.”

The tech industry has long advocated immigration issues, but this time they also highlight the pressing needs of employers at a time of widespread labor shortages in the United States.

“At the beginning of this spring, American companies had more than 11 million open jobs, 5 million more than workers,” the coalition wrote. “Many of these vacancies are for highly skilled positions and US companies are recruiting foreign-born workers to fill the shortage of workers. These openings are especially critical given the pandemic as the US seeks to maintain its status as a world leader. in innovation and ingenuity. “

Companies claim current aging policies harm their ability to recruit highly skilled workers from outside the U.S.

Once they turn 21, the children of these visa holders “face the difficult choice between leaving the country that has become their home or trying to re-enter the labyrinthine and high-risk immigration system for a different visa, where options They are extremely limited. Their parents must separate from their children or abandon their careers and any plans to seek permanent residence in the United States, “the group wrote.

“Those forced to leave are a loss to American communities and the American workforce,” the companies wrote.
“Their skills and talents will go to our global competitors.”

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