Leading tech companies and immigration organizations are urging the Biden administration to take steps to protect the children of nonimmigrant visa holders who “age out” of their status while their parents wait for green cards to be processed.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the group said said that current policies put more than 200,000 at risk of “falling through the cracks of the immigration system.”

“After spending years in the U.S., (children of nonimmigrant visa holders) risk losing the ability to stay in the U.S. once they turn 21,” the letter said. “This uncertainty harms families and prevents our companies from attracting and retaining critical talent in the U.S.”

The group said:

  • The administration should establish more robust “aging out” policies so that children of nonimmigrant visa holders can continue as beneficiaries of their parents’ pending green card applications after they turn 21.
  • Congress should pass bipartisan legislation that provides a long-term solution to the problem.

The Washington Post quoted a statement from a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson saying Mayorkas “supports bipartisan legislation that offers a permanent pathway to citizenship for documented Dreamers” and that DHS is working to “maximize the number of employment-based green cards” issued this year.

BAL Analysis: The letter highlights a significant problem that limits immigration pathways for children of high-skilled immigrants and makes the recruitment and retention of high-skilled foreign nationals more difficult for employers. While proposals to offer protection to “documented Dreamers” have gained some bipartisan support, Congress has yet to take action on the issue. BAL will continue to follow the issue and will provide updates as developments occur.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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