Technology

Tech giants urge DHS to revamp policies for high-skilled visa holders’ children

Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the department on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
Greg Nash
Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget for the department on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

A coalition of U.S.-based tech companies sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking him to revamp the department’s policies for children of high-skilled visa holders. 

In the letter sent on Tuesday, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the coalition asked the Biden administration to establish “more robust aging out policies” in an effort to address the issue of children of long-term visa holders being able to continue as beneficiaries of their parents’ pending green card applications even after they turn 21 years of age.

The coalition noted that more than 200,000 children have grown up in this country under their parents’ protected visa status, which included those who are holders of H-1B visas. 

The H-1B visa, which is commonly used in the technology industry, runs out when a child turns 21 years of age, meaning that the child has to apply for green card status to be able to work in the U.S., the letter said. 

The letter was signed by tech companies such as Twitter, Uber Technologies Inc., Amazon, Google and IBM. 

“Policymakers have recognized the plight of the Dreamers – children brought to the U.S. by their parents, who know no other country and were left without legal status – and have provided interim relief through the DACA program,” the coalition wrote in its letter. “We continue to ask Congress to enact a fair and inclusive solution for these individuals. Now, we urge policymakers to also address the needs of the more than 200,000 children of high-skilled immigrants who risk falling through the cracks of the immigration system.” 

The coalition also encouraged Congress to the bipartisan legislation called America’s Children Act, which will create a pathway to citizenship for children of long-term visa holders, often referred to as “document dreamers,” and provides a long-term resolution to the issue. 

“We believe in the power of innovation to advance society and create a better tomorrow. Equally, we believe in the values of family and decency,” the letter read. “Policies that will stop the injustice wrought by these “age-out” policies will not only promote all these beliefs we share, but also set the stage for more meaningful reform efforts moving forward.”

University of Texas graduate Athulya Rajakumar, who moved to the U.S. at the age of 5, told the Journal that she is worried about her future due to the policies, saying that her legal status ends in December. 

“I know it sounds crazy, but I haven’t made any plans,” she told the outlet. “I’m just hoping that something will get fixed by then and I can stay.”

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment. 

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Alejandro Mayorkas Amazon Department of Homeland Security Department of Homeland Security Department of Homeland Security Google tech Twitter Uber undocumented immigrants Undocumented students in the United States
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