Indians Face Eight-Decade-Long Green Card Backlog, Says New Study

The green card backlog for employment-based immigrants in 2020 has surpassed 1.2 million applicants - highest ever

South Asians
1 min read
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Despite the introduction of new green cards in 2021, employer-sponsored applicants of Indian origin face an eight-decade wait for green cards, says a new study by the Cato Institute, a Washington-based think tank.

This backlog has been caused entirely by insufficient numbers hindered by the green card limits – not delays in processing applications, says David J Bier, the author of the study.

"Given the massive economic gains, Congress should eliminate both the overall caps on skilled immigration and the country caps, which impose unfair and economically harmful national origin discrimination onto a merit‐based system", he recommends for the incoming change of guard.

“Data released by the USCIS shows that the green card backlog for employment-based immigrants in 2020 has surpassed 1.2 million applicants—the highest number ever.”
Cato Institue

As a consequence of President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from abroad based on economic concerns and the COVID crisis, approximately 1,21,000 family-sponsored green cards went unused in FY 2020.

Based on data analysed, Bier predicts that about 186,038 Indian immigrants will die before they receive green cards, even if they could remain in line forever.

“Ultimately, Congress must act,” Bier wrote urging the legislature to “repeal the green card limits on individual countries and then increase (or better yet eliminate) the overall caps on green cards for employment-based immigrants.”

“The United States has already fallen far beyond the rest of the developed world for work-based permanent migration, and allowing this backlog to continue will only exacerbate that trend."

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