The US President’s advisory commission announced the recommendation of ‘recapturing’ more than 200,000 unused green cards for family and employment categories since 1992. This move could prove beneficial for thousands of Indian Americans waiting for their Green card, the document for permanent residency.
Indian-American entrepreneur Ajay Bhutoria, a member of the advisory commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, said, “Recapture Unused green cards and Prevent Future Green Card Waste aims to address bureaucratic delays in the Green Card application process and provide relief to individuals waiting in backlogs.”
A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently.
What does the recapture of Green cards mean?
The recapture of more than 200,000 unused employment-based green cards from 1992 to 2022 means that this will initiate the processing of a portion of them every fiscal year in addition to the annual limit of 140,000 for this advisory commission on Asian Americans.
The commission has approved the recommendation that all unused green cards for family and employment categories since 1992 will be captured.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is authorised by US Congress to issue a specific number of family-based and employment-based immigrant visas every year. But due to bureaucratic delays, available Green cards have been under-utilised.
The proposal has been made to tackle this delay, Ajay Bhutoria said. “The recommendation emphasises the negative impact of under-utilised green cards on individuals, families and the US economy. The unused green cards represent lost opportunities for the country and contribute to worsening backlogs,” he said.
How delay in issuing Green cards will be resolved with this new move
To tackle the situation of under-utilisation and delay in issuing Green cards, Bhutoria proposed two key solutions:
Firstly, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State should recapture unused green cards for family and employment categories from 1992 through 2025. This includes the recapture of more than 230,000 unused employment-based green cards from 1992 to 2022 and processing a portion of these every fiscal year in addition to the annual limit of 140,000 for the employment-based category, he said.
Second, the State Department, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, should adopt a new policy to confirm that all green cards, per the annual limit, remain available for eligible immigrants even if the agencies cannot process the relevant paperwork in that fiscal year.
The unused green cards represent lost opportunities for the country and contribute to worsening backlogs, especially affecting Indian-American, Filipino-American, and Chinese-American families, according to Bhutoria.
(With inputs from agencies)
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