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No Respite for Highly-skilled Americans-in-Waiting. Need Portable Work Authorization & Recapture 500K Green Cards

Created by P.C. on July 11, 2016

On Nov 25th 2014, President Obama signed an executive action ( that would make it possible for the highly-skilled workers to obtain portable work authorization (I140 EAD and AP). Close to two years since then, there have been no updates on this action. Thousands of green cards are being wasted every year, with an estimated 500,000 green cards wasted so far, while the highly-skilled workers continue to wait in a queue that may take 20-50 years. We urge you to review and take necessary actions to recapture unused green cards, and provide portable work authorization. We want what American workers want – No H-1B worker increases and an equal opportunity to help us build our careers, innovate, and contribute towards the American economy.

Civil Rights & Equality
Homeland Security & Defense

Response to Petition

A response to your petition on immigration reform:

Thank you for signing this petition about steps to reform our immigration system.

America prospers when we welcome and retain the most talented workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs from around the world. As President Obama said at a naturalization ceremony for new Americans last year:

“Immigrants like you are more likely to start your own business. Many of the Fortune 500 companies in this country were founded by immigrants or their children. Many of the tech startups in Silicon Valley have at least one immigrant founder.”

America has made real progress over the past seven and a half years. We are working to fully implement commonsense steps announced by President Obama in 2014 to modernize and streamline our legal immigration system. In addition, in July 2015, we released a report laying out several efforts across the federal government that will help ensure that all immigrant visas authorized by Congress are issued when there is sufficient demand, better account for visa availability for persons seeking to adjust to lawful permanent resident status (or “green card holder”) while remaining in the United States, and provide additional job flexibility and portability for nonimmigrant workers affected by immigrant visa backlogs.

In December, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a rule that would help enable American companies hire and retain people waiting to become lawful permanent residents, while providing those workers stability and job flexibility. These proposed reforms would help those employees further their careers by accepting promotions, changing positions or employers, and pursuing other employment opportunities. DHS is currently reviewing the approximately 28,000 public comments it received, and is drafting a final rule in response to those comments.

In March, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new guidance that provides more clarity on the portability provision in the law, allowing individuals to seek new job opportunities or even accept promotions without losing their places in line for their green cards. By recognizing career progression and job transitions, this memo offers individuals who are on the path to permanent residency and their employers increased flexibility and stability.

We are also empowering certain spouses of high-skilled individuals on the path to a green card to put their own education and talents to use by requesting work authorization. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also finalized a regulation that strengthens and extends on-the-job training for graduates from U.S. universities studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Read more about these steps the Administration has taken.

DHS also recently proposed a rule intended to allow international entrepreneurs to come to the United States if they can demonstrate that their stay would provide significant public benefit to the nation.

Through this effort, DHS is seeking to attract entrepreneurs from abroad so they can start or scale their businesses in our country, contribute to the American economy and create jobs for American workers.

You can share your thoughts and feedback on the proposed International Entrepreneur Rule.

But, we must do even more if we are going to meet the challenges of the 21st century. President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to enact the kind of commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform supported by a majority of the American people.

Thank you for joining the broader conversation about fixing our broken immigration system by signing this petition. We greatly appreciate your interest and hope that you continue to share your views with the Administration.

-- We the People Team

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