A top US politician has called for the implementation of a system that awards Green Cards or permanent residency in America based on merit rather than country-specific quota.
Speaking on the floor of the US House of Representatives recently, Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder from Kansas said that over 700,000 high skilled immigrant workers from India are living in the US on temporary work visas.
Yoder pointed out that while they too are contributing to the country's economy, they cannot switch jobs or start their own businesses, which can create more American jobs, due to the restrictions of temporary work visas.
An unborn child in Greenland, he continued, will get a permanent residence in America more quickly as compared to an Indian who has been living and working in America for long.
This, according to Yoder, is "absurd and it's wrong".
The lawmaker also called for his Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act Bill to be passed to "fix the problem".
The Bill seeks "To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, to increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes."
Here's what Yoder, who uploaded a video of his speech on Twitter, said.
To Speaker, more than 700,000 high skilled immigrant workers from India are in the United States today on temporary work visas. These people are working hard every day, helping grow our economy, raising our children as Americans, right here in our communities.
But under our legal immigration system, they are essentially here as indentured servants, stuck in a cycle of temporary work visas, unable to change jobs or even start their own small business to create more American jobs.
They are stuck because of the arbitrary 7% per nation cap on appointment based Green Cards. Right now there is a mother in Greenland, whose unborn child will be able to obtain permanent residence in America before someone from India who is already here and has been working here for years. That's absurd and it's wrong.
My Bill called the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act would fix this problem. It would transition us to a first come first serve merit based legal immigration system. It will help these people in need and would help create new jobs. Mr Speaker, with more that 230 co-sponsors, it's time to pass the Bill and get this done.
His speech has touched a chord with many on Twitter, especially Indians.
Rep. Yoder thank you for being a champion of HR392. My wife can not open her own Dental practice and create jobs as we are stuck in GC queue— Piyush Upadhyay (@DaalBaati) July 27, 2017
A common sense bill that stops displacement of American workers, ends wage depreciation, indentured servitude and visa program abuses— Saicharan Manga (@SaicharanManga) July 27, 2017
And it also undercuts wages in the US, disincentivising local hiring. Time to put and end to backlogs and even the playing field.— Sudarshana Sengupta (@Sudarshana76) July 27, 2017
Thank you standing for us. It's being a decade now but still can't tell this country as home.— Gurusaday (@Gurusaday1) July 27, 2017
Thank you Congressman. Have been paying taxes here since 2011, won't get a green card for decade+ at the very least.— Amey Chaugule (@asc89) July 27, 2017
According to PTI, a report released earlier this month stated that the "average wait time for an Indian technology professional or those seeking a Green Card under the employment category is more than 12 years".
At the same time, India also happens to be among the top nations whose citizens get Green Cards every year, the report added.
The US issued more than a million visas to Indians in 2016, which also accounts for 72 percent of all H1-B visas issued worldwide, according to an IANS report.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration rolled out tougher H1-B visa norms in order to prevent "fraud and abuse" in the visa process.
Around the same time, Yoder was quoted by The Kansas City Star as saying that many businesses "depend on high-skilled immigration to fill important jobs and while we definitely want to root out fraud and abuse in the system, we don’t want to discourage that kind of legal immigration."