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Tech corporations urge U.S. to let the children of visa holders stay past 21

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Muthumalla Dhandapani, an Indian immigrant with an H1-B visa and a Comcast worker in Sunnyvale, protests President Trump’s immigration orders in 2017.

Santiago Mejia | Hearst Newspapers | Getty Images

A coalition of tech corporations including Amazon, Google, Salesforce and Uber are urging the Department of Homeland Security to revise policies for kids of high-skilled visa holders, lots of whom work for his or her businesses, so that they can stay past the age of 21 and not using a green card.

In a letter to DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas made public on Tuesday, the businesses asked that the Biden administration “establish more robust aging out policies.” They point to the greater than 200,000 children who’ve grown up within the U.S. while their parents held visas, including the high-skilled H1-B visa that is particularly common within the tech industry. Once those children turn 21, they have to apply for a green card, a process that may drag on and even force some to depart within the interim.

These corporations are also encouraging Congress to pass the bipartisan America’s Children Act to create a pathway to citizenship for so-called ‘documented Dreamers’ in this case.

“Policymakers have recognized the plight of the Dreamers – children dropped at 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,” the group wrote. “Now, we urge policymakers to also address the needs of the greater than 200,000 children of high-skilled immigrants who risk falling through the cracks of the immigration system.”

The tech industry has long championed immigration issues, but this time in addition they highlight the pressing needs of employers at a time of widespread labor shortages within the U.S.

“Earlier this spring, American corporations had greater than 11 million open jobs – 5 million more openings than employees,” the coalition wrote. “Lots of these job vacancies are for highly-skilled positions, and U.S. corporations recruit foreign-born employees to fill within the employee shortages. These openings are especially critical given the pandemic because the U.S. seeks to take care of its world leader status in innovation and ingenuity.”

The businesses argue the present aging-out policies hurt their ability to recruit high-skilled employees from outside the U.S.

Once they turn 21, children of those visa holders “face the difficult selection between leaving the country that has develop into their home, or attempting to re-enter the labyrinthine, high-stakes immigration system for a unique visa where options are extremely limited. Their parents must either develop into separated from their children or abandon their careers and any plans to hunt everlasting residence within the U.S,” the group wrote.

“Those that are forced to depart are a loss to America’s communities and workforce,” the businesses wrote.
“Their skills and talent will go to our global competitors.”

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