New Change in US Immigration Policy to Benefit Indians Stuck in Green Card Queues


Aarushi Jain
Updated on Feb 16, 2023 02:21 PM IST

The Biden administration has announced a policy manual update for the purpose of calculating a noncitizen's age in certain situations under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), a move seen as a small but significant step towards addressing the plight of aged-out children, the majority of whom are Indians who came to the US legally with their parents.

New Change in US Immigration Policy to Benefit Indians Stuck in Green Card Queues

As per the new policy, a child must be under the age of 21 years to gain lawful permanent resident status in the United States based on their parent's family-sponsored or employment-based visa petition. If the child turns 21 years old or ages out during the parent's immigration process, then the child is considered an adult and is no longer eligible to immigrate with the parent, and the provisions of the parent's petition will be no longer applicable to them.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services also known as USCIS, has formally made one of our long-requested policy modifications. According to Dip Patel of, which has been organising such a campaign on behalf of over 200,000 aged-out children, the USCIS will utilise the filing chart dates to establish CSPA age and any petitions that were denied before can be reopened.

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Congress passed the CSPA to protect certain non-citizen children from losing their eligibility to obtain lawful permanent resident status based on an approved visa petition by establishing a method for calculating the child's age that takes into account when an immigrant visa number becomes available.

When a visa number becomes available, it is announced in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin includes two charts: the Filing Dates chart and the Final Action Date chart. Formerly, USCIS considered a visa to be available exclusively for the purposes of the CSPA age computation based on the Final Action Date chart, even though a noncitizen may petition for adjustment of status using an earlier date in the 'Dates for Filing' chart.

This change in USCIS policy takes effect immediately and applies to all pending applications. Given this change, certain noncitizens with pending applications may now have a CSPA age of less than 21 years of age. These noncitizens filed their adjustment of status applications and paid the required fee without knowing if the CSPA would benefit them.

According to the statement, if these noncitizens are eligible to adjust their status as a result of the policy change and have filed for adjustment of status, they will be eligible to apply for employment and travel authorization based on their pending adjustment of status application. This means that they will not lose previously issued employment or travel authorization.

Patel stated that this is one of the few administrative adjustments that were simple for the administration to implement, but it took a long time to get to this point, so we are really pleased to see it. He considers this a policy manual adjustment to interpret how the CSPA age is determined.

He anticipated that those who have already graduated will help at least a few thousand children. However, it is conceivable that additional few thousand will be preserved for future years, especially given the ‘retrogression’ swings in visa bulletins in previous years.

US Congresswoman Deborah Ross praised USCIS for taking efforts to protect some of the country's 200,000 Documented Dreamers.

She noted that it is a significant step forward that will protect many people who contribute to the US economy regularly. She went on to say that the government must pass her bipartisan America's CHILDREN Act to provide these outstanding young people with a road to citizenship and finally give them the assurance they need.

During the 117th Congress, Ross spearheaded efforts in the House and Senate to protect Documented Dreamers. She presented the bipartisan, bicameral America's CHILDREN Act, which would provide Documented Dreamers with a road to permanent residency. Her proposal to prevent Documented Dreamers from leaving the system was adopted by the House of Representatives as part of the National Defense Authorization Act in July 2022.

Notably, the President's Advisory Commission on AAPIs (PAC-AAPI) had made similar suggestions in prior meetings. The group suggested that the USCIS allow aged-out children to preserve their parents' Green Card application priority date and allow aged-out children to submit their Green Card application using their parents' visa petition priority date.

A Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document presented to newcomers to the United States as confirmation that the holder has been granted the right to live permanently in the country.

The commission suggested that the USCIS change its policy manual to determine the ‘dependents' Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) application date depending on the filing date of the underlying visa application.

As stated previously, there are about 200,000 'Documented Dreamers' in the United States, mostly from India, but they can come from anywhere in the world. Since they are dependent on their parents, these young people have or will have transitory status; temporary, employment-based non-immigrant visas.

When they reach the age of 21, they will 'age out' of their temporary legal status gained through their parents' visas. At that point, individuals should leave the country or face deportation, unless they can achieve a different temporary or permanent status on their own.

Document Dreamers are ineligible for temporary deportation relief and work authorization given by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, which requires a beneficiary to have ‘no lawful status on June 15, 2012’.

According to the official government stats, an estimated 253,293 children were seeking permanent residency based on their parents' employment-based immigrant visa applications and would be eligible to age out in April 2020.

When a child reaches the age of majority, he or she must either seek to transfer to another temporary status (such as a student visa classification), self-deport, or become undocumented and face enforcement action.

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Temporary residents typically find themselves without a path to permanent residency until they complete college, qualify for temporary work (such as an H-1B visa), be sponsored for an immigrant visa, and then re-enter the Green Card queue from the back of the line.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits US citizens to work in the country and allows US companies or firms to hire foreign workers in specialised vocations that require both academic and technical knowledge. Every year, IT companies rely on it to hire tens of thousands of workers from countries such as India and China.

Source: The Hindustan Times

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