One million Indians waiting for Green Cards

When Sumier Phalake left India at age 21 to attend Georgia Tech, his parents gave their blessings. When he landed a good job out of college, and stayed in the United States, they were supportive. None of them anticipated the heartbreak, 18 years later, when Phalake’s father was diagnosed with cancer and died within months, his son unable to be with him as he breathed his last because he was trapped in U.S. immigration limbo waiting more than a decade in this country’s interminable green card queue.

Phalake, who works as a product designer for a big tech firm, is one of almost 1 million Indians in the U.S. who are stuck in a precarious legal status despite decades in the country. This limbo has long been a source of despair, but this year there was a rare glimmer of hope for a big jump forward.

Phalake has been waiting over a decade for his green card, which would allow him to travel the world freely, change jobs without bureaucratic red tape, and most importantly, start the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

The problem is caused by a little-known part of U.S. immigration law that limits the number of immigrants from any one country who can get a green card each year. The country-cap rule has created an ever-growing wait time primarily for Indian and Chinese immigrants working and living in the U.S. because they are by far the biggest groups arriving as high-skilled foreign workers.

From the San Francisco Chronicle.


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