US lawmakers ask Biden administration to protect 'documented dreamers' from deportation

·3-min read

Washington, Jun 26 (PTI) A group of influential US lawmakers on Friday urged the Biden administration to take all necessary steps to prevent the deportation of 'documented dreamers'.

They are estimated to number around 200,000, a significant majority of whom are kids of H-1B visa holding Indian professionals who are on the Green Card waiting list, that as of now is expected to last for several decades.

Congresswoman Deborah Ross and Indian American Congressman Dr Ami Bera led the group of 36 of their Congressional colleagues in the House of Representatives in sending a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in this regard.

The letter urges the DHS to strengthen protection for children and young adults who have grown up in the United States as dependents of long-term work visa holders -- a group known as the documented dreamers.

Specifically, the letter recommends updating DACA criteria to include documented dreamers and adjusting the way that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines an individual’s age when he or she files for adjustment of status in order to protect more documented dreamers from aging out of the system.

The letter comes a week after a group of Indian youngsters from across US, facing imminent prospects of deportation, lobbied with lawmakers at the Capitol Hill and met senior Biden administration officials at the White House appealing them to 'let us stay in the US'.

“Our nation benefits immensely from immigrants who come to work in fast-growing fields — in technology, medicine, engineering, and so many others,” said Congresswoman Ross. “The children of these workers, known as documented dreamers, grow up in the United States and are American in every way except on paper,” she said.

“We must ensure that these talented young people and their families are treated with dignity and respect,” she asserted.

Like communities across the US, Sacramento County is home to H-1B and other long-term visa holders who are neighbours, friends, educators, scientists, engineers, and doctors, and who contribute immensely to the country, said Congressman Bera.

“Yet, around 200,000 children of non-immigrant visa holders, who know America as their only home, are at risk of having to ‘self-deport’ to a country that is not home and be separated from their families because of decades-long backlogs in the immigrant visa system,” he said.

“As a nation of immigrants, it is not who we are to turn our backs on those who call America home. That’s why I’m proud to join Representative Ross in leading House Members in calling on the Biden administration to take action to provide protection for young people who have grown up in the United States as dependents of non-immigrant visa holders,” Bera said.

In the letter, the lawmakers write that like dreamers, many of these individuals — often referred to as “Documented Dreamers” — were raised in this country, completed their education in the American school system, and graduated with degrees from American institutions of higher education.

“As STEM graduates, high performing students, and essential workers, they contribute significantly to our nation. However, due to the decades-long backlogs in the immigrant visa system, many of these individuals will turn 21, and “age out” of eligibility for their temporary visa status and for permanent resident status before they can complete the process. Others, such as the dependents of E-1 and E-2 non-immigrants, have no path to permanent residence.

“When these individuals turn 21, if they are unable to change to a temporary status independent of their parent, they must make the untenable choice of remaining here with their families without status or returning to their country of birth alone,” the lawmakers said. PTI LKJ HDA

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