November 29, 2023

Immigration Green Card

Immigration Is Good For You

Green card system is broken. My family is proof

3 min read
More than 5 million immigrants are waiting for a green card and permanent residency.

When my wife and I moved from India to Phoenix in 2008 with our two young daughters, we loved discovering American holidays.

One of my favorites is Father’s Day: Every year, my girls make me cards or T-shirts that say “Best Dad in the World.” Then we go to In-N-Out Burger for grilled cheese sandwiches followed by sundaes at Cold Stone Creamery.

Yet as my daughters grow older – one is studying neuroscience at the University of Arizona and the other is headed to 10th grade – the holiday feels bittersweet.

Although my family came to the United States legally, our cases have been stuck in the country’s immigration system for so long that when my 19-year-old turns 21, she’ll “age out” of her legal status and lose her place in the green card line. She’ll then be forced to leave America for a country she left when she was 6.

Our 14-year-old daughter could face the same fate.

We did everything immigration lawyers said to do

Vivek Soni is a vice president at an insurance brokerage company in Phoenix.

My wife and I could never have anticipated that reaching for the American Dream would one day threaten to break up our family – all because of incomprehensible bureaucratic delays. We did everything our immigration lawyers told us to do. We worked hard at our jobs as software engineers, bought a home and waited the required six years to apply for permanent residency.

After we submitted applications for ourselves and our daughters, we were the told that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office was experiencing lengthy processing delays. Still, we could expect to receive our green cards within four years.

Deportations:Ruling against repeal of Title 42 divides Arizona

Nine years later, nothing has changed. And that has serious consequences for our family. That’s why I’m joining the chorus of voices asking Arizona’s congressional delegation to show some leadership: clear the green card backlog and rewrite policy so that young adults who have grown up here legally aren’t forced to leave when they turn 21.


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