Washington, DC, 2/08/2018. For the second time in two weeks, members of the Indian community met in Washington in support of President Trump's immigration reform policies and to call for an end to the green card backlog that is preventing legal productive immigrants from becoming citizens of the country they love. At a rally for the Republican Hindu Coalition, hundreds gathered in front of the White House in support of President Trump and to call for legal immigration reform and an end to the green card backlog. The next week a rally was held by Skilled Immigrants In America at the Capitol, where many of the attendees brought their children with them, legal Dreamers who, like the DACA children, are at risk of having their American dream ripped from their fingers because of a lack of immigration reform. Unlike DACA "Dreamers", however, these children and their parents are here legally. And unlike DACA, these legal Dreamers, or DALCA, have no support from Democrats in Congress.
In meetings held with New Jersey members of the SIIA group, Senators Bob Menendez (D) and Cory Booker (D) informed the parents of these legal Dreamers that they would be unable to support the reforms that would protect these young people at risk of losing their US residency because, "We have to focus on DACA."
It is an interesting turn around of position for the Democrats, who previously had informed members of the Indian community that they could not support a stand alone bill to address the issues these legal immigrants are facing, because any immigration reform must be "comprehensive". Now, as the Trump administration calls for a comprehensive immigration reform package, the Democrats are unable to act on that comprehensive reform, because, they say, they now must focus on the stand alone issue of the DACA Dreamers.
The DACA Dreamers have been a media hot topic since the Democrats attempted to use a government shutdown to force the controlling party, the GOP, to pass legislation protecting the children of illegal aliens who came here as children through, as DACA supporters are quick to claim, "no fault of their own". DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was an executive order signed by Obama in 2012. DACA recipients are called Dreamers after the failed 2001 Dream Act which sought to provide a path to permanent residency for children of illegal aliens. The Dream Act, or variations of it have failed to pass Congress several times, and President Obama sought to legislate protection for this special class of illegal aliens in his 2012 DACA order.
Proponents of the Dream Act and DACA claim that children of illegals are in this country only because their parents brought them here, often at a young age. The DACA children only know America and American life, they say. Their friends and families are here, and they only want to have a chance at the American dream they grew up believing in.
However, the exact same thing can be said about the legal Dreamers, or DALCA kids. They too came here because of and with their parents, often at a young age. They also only know America, and American life, their friends are here too, their families, schools, and dreams are here in America, just like the illegal children. They too want a chance at the American dream they grew up in legally, following the rules, respecting our laws and doing everything the right way. Yet for some reason the Democratic party has no time for children whose parents obey the rules. It is only the children of illegal 'immigrants' whose first act in their "new" country was to break the law by entering the country illegally that matter to Democrat congressmen. They didn't mince words about it. They just aren't interested in LEGAL Dreamers, no matter how irrational or unfair that may seem.
In the park outside the Senate side of Congress, many DALCA children and their parents gathered on a Thursday afternoon to rally and raise awareness of their plight. The unfairness of DACA is not lost on the young people.
"I don't have anything against the DACA kids, I feel for them, they are like us. But it seems unfair, because we did everything the right way, but the government only seems to care about DACA." one of the young ladies explains. In fact, despite being overlooked in favor of illegals, the group of both parents and children frequently explained to me their appreciation for the predicament of the DACA kids. They merely ask the question why do only illegals get considered in the halls of Congress, and why won't the Democrats (and some Republicans) stop resisting the President's immigration reforms, reforms that would make it possible for the legal Dreamers and their families to stay and live that American dream.
A bill introduced by Orrin Hatch on January 25th, S. 2344, would resolve a great number of the issues facing not only the skilled immigrant community, but facing America as well. The bill would reform the H1B Visa program, ensuring a fairer labor market for US citizens by ending H1B Visa abuse, and eliminating the H1B Visa lottery which experts suggest will result in increased wages and less competition with similarly skilled foreign workers. Additionally, the bill would clear the green card backlog, which in many cases is 10, 15, even 20 years. It would prioritize green cards for US educated applicants, so people who are educated in America STAY in America and use their knowledge to better the US.
It would also eliminate the biased "per country cap" for employment, a social justice warrior type rule that preferences the concept of "diversity" over the needs of the United States. And it fails to even accomplish the goal of diversity, rather preferencing under developing nations over technologically advanced nations like India. The arbitrary 7% cap on each country for employment based immigration puts developed and technology savvy countries that are producing a high number of skilled and educated workers at a disadvantage, as they produce far more workers who compete over the country's 7% share. Meanwhile, countries producing very few skilled workers benefit from the lack of competition allowing immigrants from these unskilled countries to experience much shorter waiting times in the legal immigration "line". Though advocates of legal immigration ask every immigrant to get "in line", the reality is, the line is longer or shorter based on which country you are from, because of arbitrary caps that ignore skills over ethnicity or nationality.
As the Democrats drag their feet and claim to care about the poor Dreamer children while ignoring legal Dreamers, Trump and fellow Republicans are seeking the bold and necessary immigration reform this country has so desperately needed for some time. President Trump's goal to end chain migration and institute a merit based system are welcome changes to the skilled immigrant community, and with Senator Hatch's bill, they hope to eliminate the green card backlog that unfairly targets Indian immigrants. They hope to secure the American dream for their children legally.
At the Senate park rally, one of the DALCA kids explains to me that she is a citizen of the US, and yet she fears if anything were to happen to her father's job, she would have to go back to India.
Her father, standing behind her, explains, "I was told by the immigration office that when my daughter is of age, she can sponsor me for a green card. But I do not want to use my child to sponsor me. I am the parent, I am the one who is supposed to provide for her. I came to this country to build a life, and I work hard, pay taxes, I have helped to create jobs and grown my company and the US economy. I never thought that I would have to spend 17 or more years waiting to become a resident of the country I love."
"Some days," he continues, "I feel like an American. I enjoy a football game, I'm a Falcons fan. I enjoy a movie, or going out with my family, just like any other American family. I have hope. But then I must come back to reality, and I look at my passport and realize that, no, I am not yet an American." As a father. he wonders if he made the right choice for his daughter by coming to America, doing everything the right way to give her the American dream he hoped for her, only to have it ripped from her fingers because Democrats and Congress refuse to work with President Trump to finally pass the immigration reforms we have long needed.
Though the Democrats claim to care about Dreamers, the reality is they only care about illegals. It's time to end this unfair coddling of criminality in Congress, and to reform our immigration system to reward those who bring to America the skills and love of country that truly make immigration a strength. We must make our immigration system invite in the best and the brightest, the law abiding and assimilating, the legal dreamers and those who seek the American dream the right way, while also securing our border and fixing the broken system that awards the children of border criminals the spoils of their parent's crimes.
Legal immigration. Not illegal immigration. It's really not that hard to understand, Congress.