Maui News

Gabbard Bipartisan Stops Proposal to Deport H-1B Visa Holders Seeking Residency

January 9, 2018, 10:40 AM HST
* Updated January 9, 10:41 AM
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Rep. Kevin Yoder (KS-03) sent a letter to President Trump on Jan. 5, urging his Administration to reject a proposal to deport H-1B holders awaiting permanent residency processing.

Both Rep. Gabbard and Rep. Yoder are part of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

The United States grants 85,000 H-1B visas every year to highly skilled applicants, including roughly 70% for Indians, seeking employment and educational opportunities.

According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than half of privately-held companies worth $1 billion or more in the United States had at least one immigrant founder – with many having come to America on an H-1B visa, including the CEOs of both Microsoft and Google.

Soon after the letter was sent, the Trump Administration reportedly backed off from the proposal. Reps. Gabbard, and Yoder, today released the following statement.

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“H-1B visa holders, many of whom become small business owners and job creators, drive innovation and help build and strengthen our US economy,” said Congresswoman Gabbard, the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. “The Trump Administration’s decision to back off this counterproductive proposal is a positive step forward. While it remains a priority to invest in training and create a pipeline of skilled American workers, we must continue to leverage the talent and expertise of the hundreds of thousands of H-1B visa holders to fill the gaps in our domestic workforce.”

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“I have seen personally how high-skilled immigrants have helped my community and so many others across the country by filling critical labor shortages in specific industries, preventing employers from fleeing overseas to fill them,” said Congressman Yoder, member of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. “Plus, many of these immigrants hope to eventually start their own businesses and create new jobs here in the United States. These are the people who have helped America grow and thrive as a nation of immigrants and we need to make sure our system continues to value those who are following our laws and doing the right thing.”

“America has provided me and many hundreds of thousands of folks on H1-B an opportunity to further our careers after education,” said Alok Madasani, an H1B visa holder and survivor of last year’s shooting in Olathe, Kansas. “America also taught us that if you are determined and hardworking and follow the established process, there are opportunities for everyone. There are folks who moved here decades ago and have kids going to school here, the place they call home. Every process can be improved continuously for maximum output and current H-1B process can also be improved but eliminating it on a whole affects much larger audience. I’m grateful the administration has reconsidered these changes to H-1B extensions for folks with pending green card applications and I appreciate Representatives Yoder and Gabbard’s efforts to help us and our families continue staying together here in USA and continue contributing to the society.”

Congresswoman Gabbard cosponsored H.R. 392, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, introduced by Congressman Yoder. This bipartisan legislation would remove the existing per-country cap on employment-based green cards and ensure all immigrants are treated equally regardless of their country of origin.

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