Foreign workers, including H1B cohort, brace for nail biting finish as do-or-die US immigration deal inches closer to crucial vote next week

Nikhila Natarajan
Long time US foreign policy watcher and president of the International Republican Institute Daniel Twining remains “very bullish” on the US India relationship (despite the current misalignment on trade) even if the Senate and the House pull away in two different directions after the US midterm elections on 6 November.

New York: Foreign workers, including in America are bracing for what might turn out to a make or break legislative effort with massive implications for their future in the United States at a time of tremendous immigrant stress.

The term immigration deal is a catchall for a wide arc of issues relating to (primarily) illegals but has been stuffed with policy tweaks for legal workers and immigrant families in the US.

Trump ignited eleventh-hour confusion Friday when he said on his favorite morning news show Fox News that he was looking at two immigration bills expected to be voted on by the House next week, but that he "certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one."

A draft of the "moderate" compromise bill - which we now don't know whether Trump will sign - found its way into the Breitbart newsroom. The rightwing newspaper calls it the "biggest" amnesty for illegal aliens in United States history. Hidden deep inside the bill are provisions that address pressing concerns of foreign workers.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the compromise legislation has an "actual chance at making law and solving this (immigration) problem."

If this passes, it would allow the children of temporary foreign guest workers and "anyone who has a 'contingent nonimmigrant status'" to apply for a pathway to a more permanent status in the US.

Children of E1, E2, H1B and L workers who have come into the country legally and been here for 10 years and on a legal status at the time of applying are eligible, from what we gather so far.

In the midst of a brand new set of hardline political goalposts, the stakes are high for foreign workers who are legally in the US - especially those who have applied for permanent residency (also called Green Cards) here and those whose children on dependent visas are 'aging out' while their parents face the prospect of waiting for decades for their PR status.

Many who are frustrated by the long waits are packing their bags for neighboring Canada or have already left.

Breitbart is calling the compromise bill potentially the biggest "amnesty" in American history, without a "numerical cap" and "allowing for an endless amount of foreign nationals to obtain amnesty through this avenue known as Pathway Concept B."

Cato Institute, a think tank, reports on that as of 20 April this year, 632,219 Indian immigrants and their spouses and minor children are waiting for green cards under three categories of employment based immigration - EB1, EB2 and EB3.

"The shortest wait is for the highest skilled category for EB-1 immigrants with "extraordinary ability." The extraordinary immigrants from India will have to wait "only" six years. EB-3 immigrants€"those with bachelor's degrees€"will have to wait about 17 years. The biggest backlog is for EB-2 workers who have advanced degrees. At current rates of visa issuances, they will have to wait 151 years for a green card. Obviously, unless the law changes, they will have died or left by that point."

Green Card applicants who spoke with Firstpost reflect the gathering tension of simply not knowing how long they have to wait.

"We'll die before we get our Green Cards, it's become a joke", says one while many others like Vikram Rangnekar took quick decisions and moved north to Canada.

For the millennials and and those who don't have children, moving on is relatively less cumbersome than for the 40s club, although exceptions apply.

After months of bitter negotiations, something close to a deal has been brokered between Republican party factions on a process to consider rival immigration plans to protect young "Dreamer" immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

Moderates have been promised a vote on a compromise immigration plan that will likely include a citizenship pathway for the young immigrants who have been living in the country illegally since they were children. Conservatives have been guaranteed a vote on their favored approach, which provides a path to legal status but not citizenship.

Also See: US immigration agents arrest more than 100 illegals in Ohio sting as Donald Trump doubles down on border control ahead of midterms

Hopes rise for US immigration deal on DACA while legal immigrants remain on edge in midterm election year

US issuing 15,000 more H2B visas after American companies complain about labour shortage this summer

Read more on World by Firstpost.