Tech giants sent a letter to the Biden administration Monday urging it to act quickly as a mounting backlog of green card applicants could put the children of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers at risk of deportation.
Led by Google and signed by Amazon, Uber, Twitter, Salesforce and IBM, the tech leaders are asking the Department of Homeland Security to extend the immigration benefits of green card holders to their children.
According to the letter, an estimated 200,000 children of immigrants are close to “aging out” of the benefits granted by their parents’ green cards when they turn 21.
A current backlog of U.S. green card applicants makes finding temporary residency difficult, meaning many will have to leave the country, or stay illegally and risk deportation.
“The children of many long-term nonimmigrant workers face tremendous obstacles staying united with their families in the U.S. due to the ever-growing immigrant visa backlogs and archaic rules that punish them for merely growing up,” the letter reads.
The situation comes as Big Tech struggles to retain workers, and in the letter execs warned that the looming exodus could send ripples through the industry and “prevent our companies from attracting and retaining critical talent in the U.S.”
- According to an analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy, roughly 9% of employees in the U.S. computer workforce are temporary visa holders, as of 2019.
- About 32% of the industry’s employees are foreign-born.
- According to Axios, workers from India face a particularly difficult reality, with per-country limits on green cards creating a massive backlog.
The tech industry has previously indicated support for the America’s Children Act, a bill that would establish an avenue to permanent residency for children. Despite the bill receiving bipartisan support, Congress has been unable to pass meaningful immigration reform.
In a statement given to CNN, a DHS representative said the agency supports the “bipartisan legislation that offers a permanent pathway to citizenship for documented Dreamers.”
“DHS is working to maximize the number of employment-based green cards that will be issued in FY22 to ensure documented Dreamers are able to gain residency in the United States before they turn 21. DHS continues to review all immigration-related policies, procedures, and regulations to protect the most vulnerable, increase access to eligible immigration benefits, and break down barriers in the immigration system,” the statement reads.