FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, McClatchy DC, Dec. 30, 2017 - "The Department of Homeland Security is considering new regulations that would prevent H-1B visa extensions, according to two U.S. sources briefed on the proposal. The measure potentially could stop hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card applications are pending. The proposal, being drafted in memos shared between DHS department heads, is part of President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative promised during the 2016 campaign. The administration is specifically looking at whether it can reinterpret the "may grant" language of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act to stop making the extentions. The act currently allows the administration to extend the H-1B visas for thousands of immigrants, predominantly Indian immigrants, beyond the allowed two three-year terms if a green card is pending. “The idea is to create a sort of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers in the United States to open up those jobs for Americans,” said a U.S. source briefed by Homeland Security officials. ... The H-1B visa is typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker. But H-1B holders who have begun the green card process can often renew their work visas indefinitely. The proposed changes would have a dramatic effect particularly on Indian visa holders considering more than half of all H-1B visas have been awarded to Indian nationals, according to the Pew Research Center. Lawyers who represent the workers and companies expect lawsuits to be filed if changes to the program were sought without Congressional approval. “This would be a major catastrophic development as many people have been waiting in line for green cards for over a decade, have U.S. citizen children, own a home,” said Leon Fresco, who served as a deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department in the Obama administration who now represent H-1B workers. Fresco estimates more than 1 million H1-B visa holders in the country are waiting for green cards, many of whom are from India and have been waiting for more than a decade."
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