Holding pro-Trump signs, several hundred Indian techies and their family members rallied in front of the White House on Saturday in support of President Donald Trump’s plan for merit-based immigration and to make their case for ending the long Green Card wait of well over a decade for high-skilled Indians seeking permanent residency.
At the rally, sponsored by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), the participants, who had flown in from across the US, demanded elimination of the present “per-country limit” in order to end the wait for Indians on H-1B work visas and speedily clear the massive green card backlog that disproportionately affects Indian immigrants.
Carrying signs proclaiming “Hindus for Trump”, the participants also pressed for a DACA-type fix for fully-legal young immigrants as well. While Trump’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) deal moots a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young, illegal immigrants, the Indian group pleaded for a “DALCA” deal, with ‘L’ standing for legal immigrants.
“There are 200,000 DALCA kids, children of legal immigrants-in-line from India, who have never broken the law, but who simply age out at 21 and have to go back, because their parents have a 60-year wait to get their green card after it is approved,” said the RHC, the Illinois-based group founded by Indian-American businessman and Trump acolyte Shalabh ‘Shalli’ Kumar.
Welcoming Trump’s immigration agenda that includes ending family-based “chain migration”, the group has made the case for reallocating those green cards to promote merit-based immigration and bring in “the Best and the Brightest” for 21st century American economy.
In his State of the Union address last week, Trump had said, “It’s time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.”
“The Hindu and Indian community has some anxiety related to Immigration issues. This event will help to alleviate their anxieties and give them back the confidence,” said Anil Sharma, member of the RHC organizing team. Another member, Souptik Mukherjee, said that given the endless green card wait for high skilled professional, any initiative to move towards a merit-based system is “highly laudable”.
In addition to the legislative framework proposed by the White House, there are at least six Bills in the US Congress dealing with immigration issues. The RHC said it is “in touch and closing coordinating with all the major players involved, from the White House to the House of Representatives and the Senate”.
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