Obama must attend to Indian immigrants' need

Published: 17th July 2013 07:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th July 2013 07:12 AM   |  A+A-

The immigration bill the US senate has passed is unlikely to find support in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. President Barack Obama appears to have failed to drum up bipartisan support for the bill, one of his major electoral promises. He even exhorted his Twitter followers to retweet his appeal to the members of the House. The bill would not have received a 68-32 vote in the senate but for the initiative of the Gang of Eight, comprising both Republicans and Democrats. Reforms in the immigration law had become due ever since the 1986 law signed by president Ronald Reagan was found to be inadequate.

The bill seeks to address mainly the problem of 11 million people living illegally in the US. Those among them who have completed 10 years of stay, have a job and have no criminal charges against them would be eligible for green card and eventually citizenship. Those who came to the US as children and know no other country would have received priority. A high-water mark of the bill is the commitment to secure the porous 2000-mile southwest border. However laudable the objectives are, the bill ignores the special needs of Indians in the US, who have been waiting for the green card.

A vast majority of them had reached the US on valid job visas. They cannot be clubbed with the illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Cuba. Among the Indians there are many, who have been waiting for the green card for over 10 years. What they need is a change in the visa status to enable them to stay and work permanently in the US. Because of the uncertainties on the visa front, Indian companies are unable to post enough staff to service their clients in the US. Similarly, many American companies face problems in recruiting qualified staff from India. The Obama administration should pay attention to the specific needs of Indian immigrants even as it seeks markets for American goods in India.


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