100,000 US green cards set to ‘go to waste’ in 2021

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100,000 US employment-based visas, commonly known as green cards, could go to waste in 2021 sparking fury among many foreign nationals, particularly Indian IT professionals. With many facing a decades-long wait to secure US permanent residency, news that 100,000 green cards could go unused is likely to cause resentment among many migrants.


The green card quota for 2021 is 261,500, which is far higher than the usual 140,000. However, under US immigration laws, if the full quota of US employment-based visas isn’t issued by September 30 then those that aren’t used are ‘lost forever’.

Based on current United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing times, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 green cards could go to waste – a figure that was recently confirmed by the Department of State officer in charge of determining US visa usage.


Lawsuit filed to prevent wastage

Indian IT professional, Sandeep Pawar, said that if the Biden administration fails to take any action, the 100,000 green cards that remain available this year will be wasted. So far, the White House has issued no comment on the situation.

Meanwhile, a group of 125 Indian and Chinese professionals living in the US have launched a lawsuit to stop the Biden administration wasting the remaining green cards. 

Pawar said: “There are hundreds of thousands of gainfully employed legal immigrants in the US who would benefit from these green cards. Many of them have been waiting for a decade or more to adjust to permanent resident status but have been unable to do so due to a lack of available visa numbers.”

“But this year, if USCIS does its job efficiently and promptly, these immigrants finally have the opportunity to become permanent residents, something which would otherwise take decades,” Pawar added.


Racist and discriminatory quotas

Pawar, who has been fighting for the rights of Indian professionals for many years, argued that many potential green card beneficiaries are denied the opportunity to secure an employment-based visa because of ‘inherently racist and discriminatory’ per country quotas.

He said: “Many have spouses, mostly women, who are unable to work until they become permanent residents. Many have kids who will age out and be forced to self-deport even though this is the only country they know. The harm is both immense and irreparable if these green cards are not used.”

Neil Makhija, the executive director of IMPACT – a political organization devoted to boosting the number of Indian Americans in public office – recently met with Joe Biden as part of a delegation and urged the President to reform US immigration laws by scrapping US green card quotas and include 200,000 children of long-term US visa holders in an effort to protect all dreamers.


Biden administration responsible for waste

Meanwhile, research fellow at the CATO Institute, David J. Bier, claimed that the Biden administration is responsible for the waste of green cards. The US government recently announced that green card processing was at such a slow pace that it will come at least 100,000 slots short of using up the annual limit.

Bier said: “Without drastic revisions in the glacial processing times, President Biden will have presided over one of the largest cuts to legal immigration in US history — and almost no one is talking about it.”

Back in March, Workpermit.com reported that an additional 375,000 US green cards could be issued by the Biden administration on the passing of the US Citizenship Act.


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