Rivera & Shirhatti, P.C.

DHS and USCIS are urged to protect Green Card applicants and their children

July 3, 2024
Rivera & Shirhatti. PC.

Children of professionals waiting in a lengthy line for an employment-based green card may need to leave the country or secure independent immigration status if they turn 21 before their parents obtain residence. Congress has not passed legislation providing legal status or residence to young people who may “age out” because of outdated per-country limits and low numbers of annually-issued employment based green cards. Over 1 million Indian nationals, including their dependents, currently wait in severely backlogged green card categories, according to the National Foundation for American Policy.

On June 13, 2024, forty-three Democratic and Republican lawmakers sent a signed letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou urging the Biden Administration to prioritize this issue. The letter requests 3 policy changes:

  1. Clarify the applicability of potential grants of deferred action on a case-by-case basis, where discretion is warranted, for children of long-term visa holders who age out of status;
  2. Expand eligibility for Employment Authorization to child dependents of visa holders, and to individuals with approved I-140 petitions (including work authorization eligibility under compelling circumstances for children about to age out); and
  3. Creation of a process to allow children of long-term visa holders who have aged out to seek parole on a case-by-case basis, if warranted for urgent humanitarian reasons or to advance a significant public benefit.

Although these measures, if implemented, will certainly benefit the children of long-term visa holders temporarily, they still do not provide a pathway to residence. Without legislative action, these are only interim solutions to a problem much larger in scope.

One possible solution outside legislative or executive action is to advance the Visa Bulletin Dates of Filing as much as possible to allow individuals to file for employment authorization, advance parole for travel, and freeze, and protect the age of the child for purposes of an immigration filing.

Children of long-term visa holders have been all but invisible for purposes of policy changes to protect their interests but are equally deserving as any group given their potential for invaluable contributions to American society and values. We are hopeful that DHS and USCIS will consider the policy changes advanced by the group of bipartisan lawmakers to make a much-needed change in these lives.

Please contact an RSPC attorney for more information.