Forbes: DHS, USCIS Urged To Protect Green Card Applicants And Their Children

By Stuart Anderson

In a new letter, a bipartisan group of lawmakers urged the Biden administration to take administrative action to protect the children of green card applicants. Children of professionals waiting in the employment-based green card backlog may need to leave the country if they turn 21 before their parents obtain permanent residence. Congress has not passed legislation providing legal status or green cards to young people who might “age out” because of the per-country limit and the low annual number of employment-based immigrant visas. Over one million Indians, including dependents, are waiting in the employment-based green card categories, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis.

The Letter

On June 13, 2024, members of Congress sent a letter on immigration policy to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou. The letter was led by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC). It was signed by 43 lawmakers, including Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.-12), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa-01), Young Kim (R-Calif.-40), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.-27) and other senators and House members.

“We are grateful for the bipartisan members of Congress leading this letter to ask for these urgent administrative policy improvements and who continue to champion a permanent solution through Congress,” said Dip Patel, founder of Improve The Dream. “Until Congress can pass the bipartisan America’s Children Act, we need urgent action by the administration to prioritize this issue, which has bipartisan support from Congress and the general public, and clear economic benefit.”

Request For Policy Changes

The letter requests three policy changes. First, “Clarify the applicability of potential grants of deferred action on a case-by-case basis, where discretion is warranted, for children of long-term visa holders who age out of status.”

Second, “Expand eligibility for Employment Authorization to child dependents of visa holders, and to individuals with approved I-140 petitions.” The letter also urges USCIS to expand eligibility for employment authorization (an EAD) under “compelling circumstances” to include “children who are aging out.”

Third, “We urge USCIS to create a process to allow children of long-term visa holders who have aged out to seek parole on a case-by-case basis, if warranted for urgent humanitarian reasons or to advance a significant public benefit.”


Providing relief for the children of H-1B visa holders (and others) waiting for employment-based green cards remains challenging. “The administrative proposals are both interesting and intriguing as they may only give a temporary benefit to the child who has aged out with no pathway to permanent residence,” said immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta. “Still, until Congress provides a legislative solution, these proposals, especially the first and second, would be an interim solution.”

A child granted deferred action can remain in the United States and obtain employment authorization. “The big disadvantage under this proposal is that once the parent had been granted permanent residence, what happens to the child?” said Mehta. “The child will have to remain a recipient of deferred action for a very long time until they can obtain their own basis to immigrate to the U.S.” A new presidential administration could rescind the deferred action, leaving an aged-out child in a situation similar to DACA recipients.

On the letter’s second proposal, Mehta explains while it would be good for dependent children to obtain EADs under compelling circumstances, “Children who age out and cannot protect their age under the Child Status Protection Act will not be able to obtain immigrant visas along with their parents.” A rule on the regulatory agenda that has not been issued would clarify and likely expand compelling circumstances for children at risk of aging out.

The letter also recommends granting employment authorization documents to the principal green card applicants waiting for permanent residence. “While granting EADs to beneficiaries of approved I-140s is a good thing, advocates should realize it will not lead to permanent residence if an individual changes jobs unless the new employer files the labor certification and I-140 again and the beneficiary is able to recapture the old priority date,” said Mehta. The child may not be protected from aging out depending on the circumstances.

The third proposal—being paroled into the United States—also does not offer a clear pathway to permanent residence. A future administration can choose not to extend parole. Depending on when a parent obtains permanent residence, sponsoring a son or daughter may be possible, although likely via consular processing.

Mehta favors advancing the “Dates for Filing” in the State Department Visa Bulletin as much as possible to allow those waiting in employment-based green card categories to file I-485 applications for adjustment of status. This action would enable individuals to obtain employment authorization documents, advance parole for travel purposes and protect the age of the child for an immigration filing.

Self-Deportation Continues

Without a legislative solution or additional administrative action, young people who age out while waiting for their parents to obtain permanent residence will continue to leave the United States.

Roshan Taroll, born in India, arrived in America as a 10-year-old with his parents in 2008. His mother worked in H-1B status for a U.S. technology company but waited years for permanent residence due to the low annual employment-based immigrant visa limit and the per-country limit. She died before receiving her green card.

Although family members can use the employment-based visa petition of a deceased principal to gain permanent residence, Roshan turned 21 and “aged out” from being included in his mother’s application before the “priority date” was reached.

Roshan grew up in Boston but needed to obtain F-1 international student status to attend Boston College. After graduating, he worked for a company on Optional Practical Training in a high-demand field—semiconductor manufacturing.

Due to the low annual limit on H-1B petitions, his company could not secure an H-1B visa for Roshan in three different H-1B lotteries.

“It’s been challenging,” said Roshan in April 2024. “With my mother’s passing, she moved us to this country to give us a better life and ensure that we were educated and did well. Now that I have to leave, I won’t be able to fulfill her wishes of living my life in the United States.”

In June 2024, Roshan self-deported to Taiwan to work there, leaving his family in America behind.

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