Biden vs Trump: Who Indians Trust for Green Card (and H1B)

Poll shows H1B workers have no faith on Biden or Trump to solve their Green card backlog problem. Historically, neither Democrats nor Republicans have helped.

Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team    Updated  24 Jul, 20

Its that time of the year when the debate about Biden vs Trump is heating up in the Indian community.

We share our opinion after talking to Indians who have been patiently waiting in decade long queues and the Twitter poll run by Anil Gupta.

Our Opinion

A good number of Indians usually vote for Republicans as per our opinion and the ones who cannot vote, hope that Democrats win.

This is a continuous tussle an Indian goes through due to the complex US green card and visa system.

  • A high skilled immigrant worker hopes to make life and wait patiently in the green card queue.
  • His favorites are Democrats as they usually are heard talking about immigrants in news and on TV.

But, politics is all about votes. Democrats know that you, an Indian will only hope that Democrats win, but will vote for Republicans as soon as you become a citizen.

Why do Democrats always talk about dreamers and their rights? Why don’t they push legal workers plight and make laws for it with the same energy as they do for DACA?

Simple. They make a big part of the population that will vote for them after becoming the citizen too.

The general consensus in backlogged employment-based Green card queue countries is that neither Democrats nor Republicans care for them.

As per the twitter poll run by Anil Gupta recently, most people think that it is better to have a Democrat president than a Republican given the strict choice between Biden and Trump.

Democrats can at least let the current status quo go-on as-it-is without adding additional hurdles.

But, the consensus quickly shifts if we add the third option of “none of the above“. Now, more than 60% believe that none of them will actually work to remove the underlying issue of country-based limits on Green card.

What this essentially tells us is:

  • Democrats try to please family-based immigrants and care for the undocumented population more. They won’t hurt legal immigrants but they won’t do anything out of the way to help them either.
  • Republicans do favor legal immigration but they also do not do anything to shorten Indian’s everlasting painful green card journey.

Take the example of Democratic party Senator Dick Durbin who has blocked S386 in Senate even when HR 1044 was passed with bipartisan support in the house with Democrat majority.

Republican Senator Mike Lee has pushed S386 a lot but not enough to pass it yet.

Republican vs Democrats

See the snapshot of senator Lee (Republican) vs Durbin (Democrat) for S386 bill in Senate on July 22:

S386 - Lee Durbin debate - July 22
S386 – Lee Durbin debate – July 22

Biden Promises

You might have seen headlines in Indian news sites saying that Biden will revoke the H1B visa ban as soon as he is elected as President.

That’s certainly possible as H1B, L1 and J1 travel ban is just a temporary suspension and not a permanent change. There is nothing extra that he is trying to do there.

The suspension will anyway be lifted sooner or later automatically or by a litigation.

Joe Biden's green card for-employment based backlogs
Joe Biden’s green card for-employment based backlogs

If you read his immigration promises on his official election page and hear election speech on TV, you will find that removing country of birth based limits is mentioned as a small line here and there.

Everything he talks about is undocumented immigrants, their kids (DACA dreamers), and their rights.

In addition, his immigration reform idea is taking care of family-based immigration with carefully written lines like:

  • Biden will work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages. Then, Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs.  – Only a small line means it has been added as a formality. (Source: Joe Biden Election Site)
  • “On day one, I”m going to send the legislative immigration reform bill to Congress to provide a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants who contribute so much to this country, including 1.7 million from the AAPI community.” (source: NDTV)
  • “My immigration policy is built around keeping families together, modernizing an immigration system by keeping families, unification, and diversity as pillars of our immigration system, which it used to be” (source: NDTV)
  • Biden will aggressively advocate for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check. (Source: Joe Biden Election Site)

If you look just two steps ahead, you will realize that it is a careful attempt to gather Indian and Chinese votes who have already got citizenship.

The problem with the Asian mindset (most of them) is that they want the green card door to be closed as soon as they have got the green card themselves. No one knows this fact better than the election campaign teams.

After all, their sole aim is to get the votes and they know who can give it to them.

Trump Promises

Trump does not have any specific agenda that he has shared publicly yet apart from the immigration overhaul by bringing the merit based system.

His election campaign has created a separate site for attracting Asian votes but shows no explicit promises of how he will help them.

Trump for Asians
Trump for Asians

With double-digit lead over Trump (Politico, PewResearch), Biden sure if making heads turn. But, if you look at it from the point of view of the high skilled working community and their path to green cards, we believe that Trump is better than Biden.

Trump’s idea of a merit-based Green card system does make sense. Both Canada and Australia use this system to give you permanent residency without looking at your country of birth.

The current trend shows that both countries are extremely popular with Asian immigrants due to the value they put on skills instead of family ties.

As per our opinion, if anyone can, then it might only be Trump who can bring the sweeping change to the US Immigration system given his record of signing executive orders that no other president could have even thought of seeing.

Reality Check

At the time of Obama as president, Democrats had a majority in both the house and the Senate from 2009 to 2011 but still did not go-ahead to get the “country of birth based limits” removed.

If they wanted to, they could have, but they didn’t. Can you guess the reasons?

The same law is still pending today in 2020 in the form of S386 and senators are playing a Squash game with it.

Each year, the Indian EB2 and EB3 add 3 years to the final waiting time for a person who files his new PERM and i140 today as per our estimate.

They do not care about the H1B’s or L1s as they are anyway handicapped. Their employers are obviously happy that they get employees with little or no negotiation powers and that too with decades of forced commitment to the company.


Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team     

Recent discussion on forum

  1. anonymous

    Anil appreciate your efforts on voicing the Green Card backlog and S386 bill.

    This is my take. It really doesn’t matter which president is elected to resolve the GC backlog issue . GC backlog is not a vested interest for the IT companies or the AILA.

    It really doesn’t add any gain for them hence this is s niche issue . From what I have heard is that these organizations are lobbying against it. Coming to the bill, it is championed by the Republicans under Mike Lee, and currently it is Democrat Dick Durbin who is standing as a blocker since Dec 2019.

    The Obama administration didn’t address the GC backlog rather introduced H4Ead which adds burden to the already backlogged immigration system.

    My personal opinion is that whoever comes to power unless the Senate works towards passing the bill by agreements and discussion the presidency doesn’t matter. IMHO

  2. anonymous57

    As a counterpoint … the Obama administration was unable to do anything unilaterally, they needed the cooperation of the Republicans.

    There were immigration bills on the table (the gang of 8 bill comes to mind) which went nowhere. Personally I can’t see how H4EAD would be a burden, the processing is supported by the application fees …

    With influential policy advisors like Stephen Miller, who is a white nationalist and anti-immigration, I don’t think the Trump administration is capable of coming up with any form of decent immigration reform.

    the first two years of the Obama administration were spend cleaning up the mess of the great financial crisis from what I recall. I don’t think details like removing per country caps were the priority at that point (plus it’s generally good to have bipartisan reform because it’s longer lasting)

  3. anonymous49

    Ok, so how many years do you think would it take to clear up the employment and financial mess that 2020 is creating ?

    Just as you said above, I don’t think any president would have this as a priority anymore and neither Senate for the very same reason as 2008.

  4. anonymous

    Great article. It reflects plain reality and nothing else.

  5. anonymous39

    From US govt point of view - Govt has to invest Hugh revenue for each GC holder in case of any uncertainty …

    So it’s highly unfavourable at this point of time either from Republicans or Democrats…
    Will have to watch after Covid and Elections …

  6. anonymous57

    “legal” immigrants are always the bottom of the priority list at all times.

    pres X/Y may not have a hand to play but can influence the direction. If there’s a president who is actively harmful vs a president who is neutral/inactive I’ll take my chances with the latter choice.

    so far I haven’t seen any stopgap relief in the form of executive orders from the current administration. The previous administration implemented DACA and H4 EAD via EO when discussions were going nowhere.

    In fact things have gone the other way; increasingly restrictive immigration via EO.

    “legal” immigrants are always the bottom of the priority list at all times

    pres X/Y may not have a hand to play but can influence the direction. If there’s a president who is actively harmful vs a president who is neutral/inactive I’ll take my chances with the latter choice.

    so far I haven’t seen any stopgap relief in the form of executive orders from the current administration. The previous administration implemented DACA and H4 EAD via EO when discussions were going nowhere
    [7/2, 4:40 PM] +1 (832) 528-5656: in fact things have gone the other way; increasingly restrictive immigration via EO

    a points based system isn’t a new concept introduced by this administration; it was actively discussed years ago

  7. anonymous47

    Have you forgotten 2008-2011 end Administration creating H1 issues and visa rejections ?

    If you haven’t then you should know that it is the economy and the people mindset that drives some of this politics, in term 1 Obama was anti H1 in second he changed because of pressure from the corporate, some times you need to look at the picture from a different point of view.

    Yes, and it is at the lowest of the bottoms when economy has turned turtle on its own citizens.

    EO can not change what is not under executive branch, and you can see that in H1 stopgap as it is only limiting entry not able to touch over legislative branch actions

  8. anonymous32

    Just wanted to share a fragomen session we had in our company last week (to address some concerns about travel bans/stamping/H1B/GC etc).

    The attorney who spoke also represented USCIS in their legal battles. Summarizing the hr long discussion where he ended up discussing the future of H1B/GC more - H1B has become very political now.

    It gets them (both parties) more mileage when they demonize H1B. An avg american really doesn’t know anything about H1B and it’s impact.

    They are fed lies which they believe. 2020 election doesn’t change anything for H1B/GC aspirants. If the current president is re-elected, it will become more tough.

    If democrats come to power, they’ll have more on their plate to clean up. Immigration or H1B isn’t really what they would prioritize.

    COVID has already destroyed the economy and would take years to come back to 2019 levels. If there is a second wave that would make it more tough.

    If republicans continue, the elected in president in 2024 would be in a much worse position.

    So, basically what he said was GC or H1B issues will never take priority irrespective of who takes control of the govt. in the near future.

    One of his points which also made sense was that the voting population of H1B even if they all are given citizenships right way was negligible compared to the others.

    One more point he addressed was the corporate lobbying for GC is negligible. He said "They all want to sound politically correct and hence do some talking and pressurize the senators.

    They do it like once in a blue moon to only come back a year or two later and do nothing even then. H1B and GC do not hurt them.

    For things that hurt them they have people walking into senators office every week ". Sorry for the long post but just wanted to share the info that I got in that session.

  9. anonymous

    EOs are not real reforms.

    A bill is a real reform. EO is a workaround, which is what Obama did back in 2015 with H4EAD.

    Rather than address the real backlog problem he introduced another clog into the the system.

    H4EAD sounds very interesting for struggling H1B families in the US but it is not solution to their immigration problems it only addresses the financial and unmemployment-emotional problem of spouses.

    coming to think of it it is quite unethical to provide EAD to a spouse who hasnt been vetted thru the system (when a person gets H1B he goes thru the system and has been vetted).

    H4EAD there added these problems into the system

    1. It increased the backlog of GCs,
    2. Decreased the job market of skilled H1Bs
    3. Unecessarily added enough arguments for the Anti IMmigration lobby.
    4. Provided more business for IT companies and Lawyers. it wasnt a reform it was political move by Obama desperate to get the democrats elected in 2016.

  10. anonymous

    Very well said, people who are very close to me and became US citizens few years back told me they vite for Republicans, they say if too many people come from India their childerns cant get job with all the competition.

    I felt like shit when I heard that, Indians are enemies for Indians!!

  11. Akash_Joshi

    How do you think few thousand British ruled over our country?

  12. american_mango

    What are the reasons for this - “an Indian will only hope that Democrats win, but will vote for Republicans as soon as you become a citizen”? Can you provide some basis for stating that?

    Possible explanations I can think of are -

    1. Those Indians were already leaning right on the US political spectrum on other issues (like LGBT support, government interference etc), but favored Democrats before becoming citizen for immigration purposes.
    2. As someone commented, those Indians actually don’t want other Indians coming in for a stupid reasoning of reducing competition. (I don’t think this makes sense, but if there are people like this, shame on you!).
    3. Age simply makes people more conservative, and statistically, by the time they become citizen, they are old enough to have a conservative mindset.

    What am I missing, and what’s the real reason?

    Disclosure: I am an Indian that just entered the GC backlog who leans left politically, and I cannot imagine why I would switch to voting Republican if given a citizenship.

  13. anil_am22

    Hi @american_mango

    Not all Indians change their mindset but most start to vote for Republican.

    You will know once you get your GC and then become a citizen. We have seen the same behavior with many.

  14. Kapil_Sharma

    Trump is the one starting to give so many H1b RFE’s so with him gone hopefully H1B extensions and transfers would be back to normal?

  15. Bill

    Anyone who has even a little bit of knowledge of geopolitics knows that while Republican base does not want immigrants, their presidents are much more amiable to working with India on various issues. Bush junior signed the nuclear agreement, Trump has been favorable towards India to balance China to the extent he can be. What did Obama do after coming to power? Stalled the nuclear deal and slowed down any other progress on any other front. Clinton’s have been a long time Pakistan supporters and Obama continued their policy. Obama went to India and preached secularism when Americans are killing each other on the streets for every conceivable reason.

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