By Paresh Dave
(Reuters) -The Biden administration must protect young adults who could lose U.S. immigration status because of processing delays for permanent residency, tech companies including Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Tuesday.
After turning 21, foreigners can no longer stay in the United States under parents’ work visas. If applications for their own visas are not processed by that birthday – as is often happening amid pandemic-induced delays – they must leave.
Unlike millions of undocumented immigrants popularly known as “Dreamers” who have become eligible for temporary work permits, these “documented Dreamers” – a group that numbers over 200,000 https://www.cato.org/blog/100000-children-employment-based-green-card-backlog-risk-family-separation – have not received relief.
Record-low unemployment across the country has left businesses concerned about losing prospective employees.
In a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas late on Monday, the tech companies joined with industry and lawyer associations to urge him “to establish more robust aging out policies” that would let young people remain in the United States as long as permanent residency applications were under review.
The agency responded in a statement that it was reviewing all policies and aiming to maximize issuance of permanent permits, or Green Cards, “to ensure documented Dreamers are able to gain residency in the United States before they turn 21.”
Karan Bhatia, Google vice president of government affairs and public policy, said the administration could provide a temporary reprieve by interpreting regulations more favorably.
Google also supports lawmakers’ bipartisan efforts to pass the America’s Children Act, which would provide documented Dreamers a pathway to citizenship.
Uncertainty over their children’s status has discouraged some Google employees from working in the United States, Bhatia told Reuters.
“There is intense competition in the world to be at that technological edge, and the only way you get to that technological edge is by having the world’s best talent,” he said.
“We do have our highest and innovative work in the United States, so for these folks to be fully utilized, it would be optimal to have them in the United States.”
Other signatories of the letter included IBM, Salesforce.com Inc, Twitter Inc and Uber Technologies Inc.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Bradley Perrett and Tomasz Janowski)