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Documented Dreamers Age Out

May 03, 2022 (1 min read)

Aishvarya Kavi, New York Times, Apr. 30, 2021

"In 2011, after five years of working and living with his family in the United States on a temporary visa, Barathimohan Ganesan submitted green card applications for his wife, his 5-year-old daughter and his 11-year-old son.

Mr. Ganesan, who was born in India and has also lived in Singapore and Australia, was nervous about when his wife and children might gain permanent residency. He knew the waiting list was especially long for Indians on his kind of visa, an H-1B, which allows American companies to employ skilled foreign workers. Because of chronic backlogs, it can take years to process those on work visas who apply for permanent residency.

Last year, a decade after he applied, Mr. Ganesan, his wife and his daughter received their green cards. But his son had turned 21 and missed the cutoff by months, leaving him scrambling for a visa that would allow him to stay in the United States.

Mr. Ganesan’s son is among more than 200,000 children who grew up in the country under the protection of their parents’ temporary visas, which can be renewed indefinitely. But the children risk losing their legal status when they turn 21. Unable to become permanent residents because of the backlogs or because they were never eligible, they must obtain a different visa, remain in the United States without legal status or leave entirely. According to the Cato Institute, more than 10,000 children age out of green card eligibility each year; untold numbers eventually depart, often leaving their families behind."