The Biden Administration is taking steps to provide a legal pathway to citizenship to children of legal immigrants who fear being deported because of being aged out, the White House said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told this to reporters at her daily news conference while responding to questions on the fear among a section of children, most from India, because of decades-long wait for their green card.
Their parents had come to the US as legal immigrants on H-1B visas. Under US laws, children cease to be dependent on their parents after they turn 21. As a result, thousands of Indian children are facing being aged out.
According to Improve the Dream, a group representing such children, they number more than 200,000.
"Obviously taking steps to ensure we are providing a legal pathway to citizenship and especially for kids who came into this country, as you referenced innocently with their family members," Psaki said.
A White House spokesperson said President Joe Biden has been clear that America’s immigration system needs to be reformed.
"That includes improvements to the visa process. In the immigration bill he sent to Congress he's pretty clear. It reforms the family-based immigration system by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating lengthy wait times and increasing per-country visa caps," the spokesperson told PTI.
"The bill provides dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorisation and children are prevented from aging out of the system," said the spokesperson.
In June, Congresswoman Deborah Ross and Ami Bera-led House colleagues in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas recommended strengthening of protections for children and young adults, who have grown up in the United States as dependents of long-term work visa holders, a group known as the "documented dreamers".
The letter recommends updating DACA criteria to include the "documented dreamers" and adjusting the way USCIS determines an individual's age.
"Around 200,000 children of non-immigrant visa holders, who know America as their only home, are at risk of having to self-deport to a country that is not home and be separated from their families because of decades-long backlogs in the immigrant visa system,” Bera said in a statement in June.
"As a nation of immigrants, it is not who we are to turn our backs on those who call America home," he said.
For the past several months, a group of Indian American children have been running from pillar to post in the American capital to make their voice heard.
They have been receiving positive response from both the Biden Administration and the US Congress as well. However, they have not been given a solution to their problem so far.
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