A coalition of Big Tech firms want the Biden administration and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to allow the children of U.S. visa holders to remain in the country past the age of 21.
The letter, reviewed by FOX Business, states that the children of many long-term nonimmigrant workers face tremendous challenges in the U.S. because of the ever-growing immigrant visa backlogs and archaic rules that punish them for merely growing up. We urge you to address this issue to help these families stay together in the U.S. and allow our economy to flourish to its fullest extent. More than 200,000 children have grown up in the U.S. protected by their parents visa status, according to the letter. Once they turn 21, they must take part in the lengthy process of applying for a green card or leave the country.
The coalition believes that H-1 B visa holders and other foreign national workers on nonimmigrant visas are critical drivers of economic growth in the U.S. economy and that deporting their children could prevent the companies from attracting and retaining critical talent in the United States, and exacerbate the country's labor shortages.
The coalition wrote that American companies had more than 11 million open jobs in the spring and 5 million more openings than workers. Many of the job vacancies are for highly skilled positions, and U.S. companies recruit foreign-born workers to fill in the worker shortages. The US is trying to maintain its world leader status in innovation and ingenuity as a result of the Pandemic. Karan Bhatia, Google's vice president of government affairs and policy, told FOX Business that the coalition is advocating for more robust aging out policies to ensure the children of long-term visa holders can continue to be beneficiaries of their parents pending green card applications even after they turn 21.
The group is asking Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would offer a long-term resolution to the issue, such as the America's Children Act.
The letter states that policymakers have recognized the plight of the Dreamers children brought to the U.S. by their parents, who know no other country and were left without legal status, and have provided interim relief through the DACA program. We urge policymakers to address the needs of the more than 200,000 children of high-skilled immigrants who are at risk of falling through the cracks of the immigration system. A DHS spokeswoman told FOX Business that Mayorkas supports bipartisan legislation that allows a permanent pathway to citizenship for documented Dreamers. DHS is working to maximize the number of employment-based green cards that will be issued in FY 22 to make sure documented Dreamers can get residency in the United States before they turn 21, according to a spokeswoman. DHS continues to review all immigration-related policies, procedures, and regulations to protect the most vulnerable, increase access to eligible immigration benefits, and break down barriers in the immigration system. The letter came as the U.S. has seen an influx of immigrants at the southern border. In April alone, officials reported 234,088 encounters, with just under 97,000 people expelled under Title 42 and over 110,000 people released into the United States.
The Biden administration has received criticism for its immigration and border policies.
A massive caravan, which organizers estimate currently has around 9,500 migrants and could swell well beyond that number, was set off from Tapachula, Mexico and has so far met little resistance. Some media outlets said that the caravan could swell to as large as 15,000 migrants.