High-Skilled Workers’ Kids in Immigration Limbo

With the fate of the Dreamers in the US currently being debated in Congress, another group of young immigrants is confronted with a similar problem – the dependents of high-skilled workers from overseas.

Thousands of kids who are not immigrants are nonetheless growing up in the US after being brought by parents employed in booming industries, such as energy and tech, but will be forced to leave the country when they turn 21 unless their parents can get green cards. While skilled workers should be able to get a green card easily enough, the catch is the current cap on the number of green cards that can be given out annually means there is an enormous backlog of eligible families.

For workers from China, India, Mexico, and Vietnam, the waiting period to get a green card based on merit could be up to 70 years. The co-founder of the advocacy group, Immigration Voice, Amit Kapoor, believes that of the 350,000 minors in the US, 250,000 face becoming too old to be covered their parents’ US visas and will not even be covered by DACA because their entry into the country was legal.

But, Kapoor says that the Fairness for High School Immigrants Act of 2017, introduced over a year ago, would speed up the processing of green cards by lifting the quotas on green cards issued on merit and because of the $2500 processing fee, could put $4 billion into the pocket of the federal government in the process.