Will H-1B Visa Protect Indians From US’s Newfangled Deportation Policy

From October 1, US will impose its new deportation law which bars unauthorized Indian Immigrants to continue their stay in US. The new law will not be implemented for the time being with respect to employment-based petitions and humanitarian applications and petitions.

This translates into a big relief for H-1B visa holders – a majority hailing from India – since applications of visa extension have been denied in recent months. Trump administration has been waiting for the implementation of this visa policy as for them the companies were misusing visa for replacing American workers.

A Pew Research Centre study in 2016 claimed that there could be as many as five lakh undocumented Indians in the country – people who either overstayed their visas or entered US borders illegally. Significantly, this figure has reportedly jumped nearly 43% since 2009.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversees lawful immigration to the United States, announced Wednesday that they will start taking an incremental approach to implement the new rule from Monday. To begin with, they will issue notices to appear (NTA) to people whose applications regarding visa extension or changes in status have been denied.

NTA, in immigration law parlance, is considered the first step towards deportation of foreign nationals who do not have valid papers to legally stay in the US.

USCIS also said that it will send denial letters for status-impacting applications that ensures benefit seekers are provided adequate notice when an application for a benefit is denied. Furthermore, it will provide details on how applicants can review information regarding their period of authorised stay, check travel compliance, or validate departure from the US.

This development comes even as the Trump administration is desperately trying to roll-back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded nearly 800,000 young immigrants – including thousands of India-origin – referred to as dreamers, was under 16 when their parents brought them to the US and, given that they were raised and educated in the country, many consider them to be as American as Trump. Unfortunately, just not in the legal sense.

Though the federal courts have refused to halt DACA, many feel that it will eventually go the way of another Obama-era program -Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”).