Indian-American healthcare workers protest over Green Cards backlog

A group of Indian-American frontline healthcare workers held a demonstration to protest over Green Card backlog.

This demonstration was organised in front of the US Capitol.

They urged US lawmakers to end the per capita country-specific quota.

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Dr Raj Karnatak, an infectious disease and critical care physician, and Dr Pranav Singh, a pulmonary and critical care physician, the organisers of the peaceful protest said in a joint statement.

“We are frontline COVID warriors, and we are here to tell how we have been short changed into a life of perpetual indentured servitude. Each of us has a story. We are here from all over the country asking for justice. Most of us are from India. We trained in the US and took oath as physicians to serve the sick and needy. Most of us are serving the rural and underserved areas. We are in a Green Card backlog due to archaic country caps that allow no country to get more than seven percent of employment-based green cards.”

According to the protestors, due to decades of backlog, high-skilled immigrants are not able to change jobs.

These skilled immigrants fear of losing the spot in the Green Card line.

Because of this fear, many healthcare workers could not serve in COVID-19 hot spots as the visas are tied to the job and employer.

They demanded that President Joe Biden should direct United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to end the Green Card backlog for the frontline healthcare workers by utilising the unused green cards in the past years.

There was an HR 1044 fairness bill that was passed in the House of Representatives by 365 votes in 2019 and its senate equivalent S386 passed the Senate in 2020.

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The protestors pointed that frontline healthcare workers need immediate relief as they have been suffering for a very long time.

“As frontline healthcare workers who are risking their lives in this pandemic, the least we deserve is a certainty. A certainty that if we die or get disabled, our children and spouses won’t be kicked out of the country.”

The US is currently facing a backlog of nearly 473,000 qualified family-based Green Card requests.