I applied for a green card 9 years ago.Immediately, waiting could tear my family

Over 5 million immigrants are waiting for a green card and permanent residence.

Over 5 million immigrants are waiting for a green card and permanent residence.

When my wife and I moved from India to Phoenix with our two young daughters in 2008, we loved discovering American holidays.

One of my favorites is Father’s Day. Every year, my girl makes cards and T-shirts that say “the best dad in the world”. Next, eat a grilled cheese sandwich at In-N-Out Burger, followed by Sunday at Cold Stone Creamery.

But as my daughter gets older (one studying neuroscience at the University of Arizona and the other heading for 10th grade), the holidays feel bittersweet.

My family legally came to the United States, but our proceedings remained in the U.S. immigration system for a long time, and when my 19-year-old turned 21, she “revoked” her legal status. And the green card line. Later, at the age of six, she was forced to leave the United States for her country of departure.

Our 14-year-old daughter could face the same fate.

We did everything the immigration lawyer says

Vivek Soni is the vice president of Phoenix's insurance brokerage firm.

Vivek Soni is the vice president of Phoenix’s insurance brokerage firm.

My wife and I didn’t expect that reaching the American Dream could one day dissolve our family. All due to incomprehensible bureaucratic delays. We did everything the immigration lawyer told us. We worked hard as software engineers, buying a home and waiting for the six years needed to apply for permanent residence.

After submitting the application to ourselves and our daughters, we were told that processing was significantly delayed at the US Citizenship and Immigration Office. Still, you can expect to receive a green card within 4 years.

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Nine years later, nothing has changed. And it has serious consequences for our family. That’s why I’m in a choir of voices calling on the delegation of the Arizona Capitol to take leadership. Clear the green card backlog and rewrite the policy to prevent young adults legally raised here from being evacuated when they turn 21.

Current, 5 million immigrants await permanent residenceOver 100,000 The child is estimated to lose legal status For the next 20 years, and Immigrants sponsored by nearly 200,000 Indian employers could die Before they get a green card.

It’s a system Restrict immigrants from a single country Up to 7% of green card pies effectively punish us from populous countries. For the greatest countries in the world, this inefficiency is unacceptable. It’s time to create a functional system that meets the needs of both immigrants and frustrated US employers.

My daughter is worried.I can’t change jobs

The psychological and human costs of this bureaucratic issue are enormous: my daughter lives with chronic anxiety about their future. My eldest son spent 12 years in Phoenix’s public school system, but when she entered college she was considered an “international student” and was not eligible for federal financial assistance or state tuition. It was. Fortunately, she received a scholarship for an international student, but I can’t imagine the stress this would put on other families.

I am here with an employer-provided visa, so I am not allowed to change jobs or start a business. I feel personally and professionally stuck, especially when I see my colleagues taking advantage of new opportunities for growth and progress. But returning to India is not our option.

Thirteen years later, we feel American and dream of becoming a citizen. We want to participate in the democratic process, both nationally and here in Arizona.

My family left India because we wanted to give our children the best opportunity in their lives.

Father’s Day celebrates how far we have come as a family and our dreams for the future. This should include family dinners, graduations, weddings, and hopefully grandchildren someday.

It should not be reminded that my dear daughters will leave in a few years and may break my heart.

Vivek Soni is the vice president of Phoenix’s insurance brokerage firm. Contact him at [email protected].

This article was originally published in The Arizona Republic: The green card system is broken.My family is proof