Big Tech urges Biden administration to allow visa holders' children to remain in US beyond age 21

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A coalition of Big Tech firms are calling on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Biden administration to allow the children of U.S. visa holders to remain in the country past the age of 21. 

"The children of many long-term nonimmigrant workers face tremendous obstacles staying united with their families in the U.S. due to the ever-growing immigrant visa backlogs and archaic rules that punish them for merely growing up," the letter, reviewed by FOX Business, states. "We urge you to address this issue to help these families stay together in the U.S. and allow our economy to flourish to its fullest extent."

The letter's signatories include Alphabet, Amazon, Uber, Twitter, IBM and Salesforce. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GOOGLALPHABET INC.2,342.99+6.58+0.28%
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.123.00-1.79-1.43%
UBERUBER TECHNOLOGIES INC.25.30+0.57+2.30%
TWTRTWITTER INC.40.12+0.55+1.39%
IBMINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.142.80-0.02-0.01%
CRMSALESFORCE INC.187.13+4.22+2.31%

REPUBLICANS DEMAND MAYORKAS UTILIZE BORDER SECURITY EQUIPMENT, TECHNOLOGIES TO MITIGATE ILLEGAL MIGRANT SURGE

According to the letter, more than 200,000 children have grown up in the U.S. protected by their parents’ visa status. However, once they turn 21, they must take part in the lengthy process of applying for a green card or leave the country. 

The coalition argues that H-1B visa holders and other foreign national workers on nonimmigrant visas are "critical drivers of economic growth in the U.S. economy" and that deporting their children could prevent the companies from attracting and retaining critical talent in the United States and exacerbate the country's labor shortages. 

"Earlier this spring, American companies had more than 11 million open jobs – 5 million more openings than workers," the coalition wrote. "Many of these job vacancies are for highly-skilled positions, and U.S. companies recruit foreign-born workers to fill in the worker shortages. These openings are especially critical given the pandemic as the U.S. seeks to maintain its world leader status in innovation and ingenuity."

Immigration rights activists hold a rally in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, November 12, 2019, as the Court hears arguments about ending the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP vi ((Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Karan Bhatia, Google's vice president of government affairs and policy, told FOX Business that the coalition is advocating for "more robust aging out policies" to ensure the children of long-term visa holders can continue as beneficiaries of their parents’ pending green card applications even after they turn 21.

In addition, the group is asking Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would offer a long-term resolution to the issue, such as the America's Children Act.  

"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 letter adds. "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."

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A DHS spokesperson told FOX Business that Mayorkas "supports bipartisan legislation that offers a permanent pathway to citizenship for documented Dreamers." 

"DHS is working to maximize the number of employment-based green cards that will be issued in FY22 to ensure documented Dreamers are able to gain residency in the United States before they turn 21," the spokesperson explained. "DHS continues to review all immigration-related policies, procedures, and regulations to protect the most vulnerable, increase access to eligible immigration benefits, and break down barriers in the immigration system."

The letter comes as the U.S. has seen an influx of immigrants at the Southern border. In April alone, officials reported 234,088 encounters, with just under 97,000 people expelled under Title 42 and over 110,000 people released into the United States. 

The Biden administration has received criticism for its immigration and border policies.

Currently, a massive caravan, which organizers estimate currently has around 9,500 migrants and could swell well beyond that number, set off from Tapachula, Mexico and has so far met little resistance. Some media outlets have reported that the caravan could swell to as large as 15,000 migrants.

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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