A class-action lawsuit, filed in a US court by several Indian families, to protect the rights of children who will age out or turn 21, while the family is in queue for a green card, has been dismissed by a magistrate judge.
The silver lining, however, is that the judge drew a reference to the America’s Children Act thereby underlying its importance. This Act, which protects children from “ageing out” and having to self-deport while they are stuck in a green card backlog, has been introduced both in the House and the Senate, but is yet to be passed.
Brent Renison, who is the lead attorney in this lawsuit, told TOI, “We are of course heartbroken that the magistrate judge has recommended the case be thrown out. We intend to file objections to the recommendation with the hope that the district judge will issue a ruling in our favor.”
“We still hold hope that the Biden administration will implement our requested reforms to make our lawsuit unnecessary. Failing that, we will keep fighting for justice for these ‘documented dreamers’.”
Children brought to the United States under the legal immigration system are referred to as “documented dreamers”. Typically, in the context of Indian families, one of the parents holds an H-1B visa. Once these children turn 21, they can no longer continue with their existing H-4 visa (given to spouse and minor children of the H-1B visa holder) and either have to opt for an international student visa or self-deport.
Of the two lakh documented dreamers, nearly 70% are children from Indian families — the decades-long wait for a green card, running into nearly 80 years, makes ageing out and self-deportation a harsh reality.