A senior US senator is drawing intense criticism for mocking the plight of thousands of Indians who have been forced to wait for their permanent residency, Green Card, because of a country-limit system.
The senator, Richard J Durbin, who is a Democrat and represents the state of Illinois in US — President Barack Obama’s home state — has also put a “block” on a legislation that seeks to remove the country limit and that had recently passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. But advocates of the bill — S-386 “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act” — are used to these “blocks” by individual lawmakers, it’s the third so far.
But they have been outraged in this instance by the senator’s apparent lack of empathy for the plight of those who are looking at a statistical probability of waiting for more than 100 years during which many of them will either die or relocate to a more welcoming country such as Canada.
At the heart of the outrage is a video of an outreach event attended by Durbin with people who appear to also be in the queue for Green Cards.
The poster, who seems to have been present at the event further and posted, “He did not say ‘this is not a laughing matter’ and he did not say anything about why the existing green card system should not discriminate based on country of origin. Instead, he laughed at my expense and mocked my family’s misery.”
Durbin “needs to apologize to the 1000s of backlogged families for mocking at their misery and supporting,” said a follow-up tweet.
“As a person in backlog – I feel backstabbed by a democratic senator who not only blocked the bill but mocked and laughed at me,” wrote another post.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which runs the Green Card and all other immigration issues, has said there are 306,601 Indians waiting for their Green Cards. But these are only the primary applicants, say advocacy groups dealing with the issue for years and they estimate that along with their dependents and those starting the process the number of those impacted directly and indirectly is much higher, at around 1.5 million.
Under current rules applicants from any one country cannot be granted Green Cards in excess of the country-limit of 7% of the annual total of around 1 million green cards.
Said an Indian American who is advocating for the removal of the country-limit not because it effects him — he is an American citizen already — but because he had seen the consequences of it, children being sent because of “aging out”, becoming 21 that puts them out as adults independent of their parent’s visa, and families that have had to relocate to another country after years living in the US.
The website claiming Durbin is Racist is trending showcasing Durbin’s acute focus on Indian Immigrants as a racist trait.
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The vast majority of Children from India who immigrated with their parents to the United States in the last ten years, via an employer sponsored Green Card, will have to self-deport by the age of 21. These children grew up in the United States and know no other country as their home. Yet, every single child who arrives on the same immigration path in the future will have to self-deport. This is happening to children from one country alone – India