This is a very short item but something I came across the other day that was entirely new to me. The “Dreamers,” we are told, are in need of legal residency in the United States because they left the countries of their birth so long ago that those places are wholly unfamiliar to them, including language and school system. But there’s another category of individuals in the same circumstance: sons and daughters of people who came here on H-1B visas.
What I was unaware of is that, as much as one reads about H-1B visa abuse, it’s actually very difficult to move from such a visa to a green card, simply because such a small percentage of the overall visas available in a given year, are designated for this purpose. As Cato explains,
Current law allows H-1B employers to sponsor H-1B workers, their spouses, and minor children for green cards or legal permanent residency. The green card waits for these workers are decades long (see here for a detailed explanation of that problem), so the law also allows H-1Bs waiting for a green card to extend their status and the status of their spouses and minor children indefinitely while they all wait for green cards. But despite having waited in line for many years, children of H-1B workers still lose their status as soon as they turn 21. Those who don’t self-deport then become foreign students, which provides temporary status but they cannot work and lose status again as soon as they graduate.