The current wait time for Indians to obtain a green card is estimated to be 195 years.

Donald Trump at an election campaign
Atom US Elections Tuesday, October 06, 2020 - 12:34

With Presidential elections around the corner in the United States of America, immigration has become a key topic of contention between the Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Ever since Donald Trump came to power in the year 2016, immigration laws have been getting stricter. Trump’s promise of placing Americans first and reforms in the immigration policy were major defining issues in his earlier presidency as well.

When it comes to green cards, which allows a non-resident of the US to permanently reside and work in the US, Trump has been placing curbs with the intention of placing Americans first in line of job opportunities.

In April, Trump signed an executive order temporarily pausing immigration for some into the United States, including green card holders. This applied to foreign nationals who were outside the US and do not have an official travel document other than a valid visa that permits them to travel to the US. This, he had said, was to protect the jobs of Americans laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, out of the 1.2 million waiting for the employment based green cards, there are 3,98,132 Indians in the line. The annual green card quota for India is about 26,000. Due to the cap, the current wait time for Indians to obtain a green card is estimated at 195 years.

Making matter worse, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 or the S386 bill has been blocked in the Senate, after being first proposed in 2019. This bill aims to equalise the green card backlog by removing the cap that is placed on each country.

Trump continues with his stand on immigration, according to the Whitehouse report, “The United States must adopt an immigration system that serves the national interest. To restore the rule of law and secure our border, President Trump is committed to constructing a border wall and ensuring the swift removal of unlawful entrants. To protect American workers, the President supports ending chain migration, eliminating the Visa Lottery, and moving the country to a merit-based entry system. These reforms will advance the safety and prosperity of all Americans while helping new citizens assimilate and flourish.”

However, the Trump administration recently sped up the process for green card processing by five years for H-1B and L-1 visa holders, where those who applied for a green card before 2015 can begin the final process to receive their green cards.

However, if Trump comes back to power, crackdown on immigration is likely to continue, as has been seen during the first term of presidency. Not just with green cards, there have been restrictions placed on non-immigrant work visas as well, and such restrictions are expected to continue. This would increase uncertainty for those who have been waiting for a green card for over five years.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate Joe Biden says that he would undo the policies that were taken during Trump's tenure pertaining to the immigration and would allow ‘dreamers’ into the nation.  When it comes to the green cards, if elected to power, Joe Biden said that he will restore the naturalization process of green card holders.