Tech companies advocate for children of immigrant workers

Washington (CNN Business) — The delay in the approval of applications for residence permits in the US has caused the Silicon Valley giants to ask the Biden administration for new measures to prevent the deportation of the adult children of high-skilled immigrant workers.

Tech titans, led by Google and including Amazon, IBM, Salesforce, Twitter and Uber, sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday urging the agency to extend immigration benefits. of residence permit applicants to their children who turn 21. The letter argues that such individuals should be able to stay in the US and have the right to work.

“The children of many long-term nonimmigrant workers face tremendous obstacles in staying connected to their families in the United States due to mounting immigrant visa backlogs and archaic rules that punish them for simply to grow,” the letter said.

Without intervention, up to 200,000 minors in the United States risk “falling out” of their parents’ immigration status and face having to enter the immigration system as adults themselves, the companies wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The situation creates uncertainty for many of the tech industry’s most valuable employees and “prevents our companies from attracting and retaining America’s top talent,” the letter said.

In a statement, a DHS spokesperson said Mayorkas supports “bipartisan legislation that offers a permanent path to citizenship for documented Dreamers.” DHS is working to maximize the number of employment-based green cards to be issued in FY22 to ensure that documented Dreamers can obtain residency in the United States before their 21st birthday. 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.”

Tech companies, which rely heavily on the talent of foreign-born engineers, have long advocated for policies that encourage high-skill immigration to the U.S. Monday’s letter reflects the latest in that approach, highlighting how The US’s years-long struggle to address immigration issues is giving rise to new challenges for visa holders whose children are growing up.

Citing labor shortages and the ongoing pandemic, the companies argued that the Biden administration’s lack of intervention would lead to hardship for families, as well as damage to America’s technological competitiveness.

“Immigrants have been vital to Google’s success, and companies like ours need to attract and retain highly-skilled workers from around the world to compete,” Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and policy, said in a statement to CNN. “Unfortunately, the current immigration system often fails to adequately serve H-1B visa holders and their families…. We join other US businesses in advocating for stronger policies so that the children of holders long-stay visa holders who reach the age of majority can continue to live and work in the United States while waiting to apply for a green card even after they turn 21.

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