US Presidential Advisory panel member recommends recapturing unused green cards from 1992-2025 for family, employment categories


The unused green cards are a golden opportunity for immigrants from India, China, and the Philippines to become US Citizens

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Ajay Bhutoria, an Indian American and a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders has recommended that all the unused green cards, since 1992 for family and employment categories be recaptured. This step can prove beneficial for thousands of Indian Americans waiting for their green cards.

The recommendation includes to recapture more than 2,30,000 unused employment-based green cards from 1992 to 2022 for further processing in a phased manner over and above the annual limit of 1,40,000 for this category.

“Recapture unused Green cards and prevent future Green card waste” aims to address long bureaucratic delays in processing green card applications and provide much-needed relief to US immigrants waiting in backlogs, Bhutoria said.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is authorized by Congress to issue only a limited number of family-based and employment-based immigrant visas annually. However, long bureaucratic delays have led to the under-utilization of available green cards, accumulating unused green cards over the years, he added.

Mr Bhutoria proposed two key solutions, to tackle this long pending issue.

Firstly, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State should recapture unused green cards for family and employment categories from 1992 through 2025. Thus, recapturing more than 2,30,000 unused employment-based green cards and processing a portion of this lot every fiscal year in addition to the annual limit of 1,40,000 for the employment-based category, he said.

Secondly, the State Department, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, should devise a new policy to confirm that all green cards, as per the annual limit, remain available for eligible immigrants despite the delay in processing the required documents in that fiscal year. To be applied retroactively to recapture green cards that were unused before the new policy goes into effect, he said.

The unused green cards represent lost opportunities for the US and contribute to worsening backlogs, affecting Indian-American, Filipino-American, and Chinese-American families. This recommendation will remove the negative impact of under-utilized green cards on individuals, families, and the US economy.

Furthermore, the lack of a green card prohibits the mobility of temporary workers on H-1B visas and restricts their contributions to the US economy. In addition to this, the children of these temporary workers remain at risk of aging out of immigration status when they turn 21.

Mr. Bhutoria said his recommendation aligns with proposals introduced in the 117th Congress to recapture green cards, previously unissued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) due to administrative errors.

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