COVID-19-fighting Indian doctors stuck in US green card backlog

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Washington– Hundreds of Indian doctors fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the US have been stuck in the green card backlog, facing additional anxiety and uncertainty of their stay in America amid the health crisis, a media report said.

Santhi Bhushan, an Indian internist practicing in Springfield, Illinois has been clocking in extra hours as he was one of the thousands physicians on the front line in the battle against the coronavirus, the American Bazaar said in the report on Thursday.

Currently he is in quarantine after being exposed to the deadly virus during his service.

Nitesh Jain, a lung specialist and ICU physician, too is working round the clock as the numbers of virus affected people continue to swell across the US.

According to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University, there are currently more than 9,077 confirmed cases and 145 deaths.

While Jain and Bhushan are happy to go that extra mile to help the country they are living in during this hour of crisis, they face a difficult reality like many other Indian doctors in America.

Bhushan will have to wait for nearly 100 years before he can get permanent residency or the green card in the US where has been living in for decades.

His daughter who grew up in Springfield, Illinois will also have to self-deport soon as she turns 21 causing family separation.

Similarly, Jain who has spent the last one decade serving patients in rural America too faces a similar wait before he gets the green card to call America his permanent home.

The two were among thousands of Indian citizens who face a decades long wait to get the coveted green card due to a 7 per cent per country annual limit under the current immigration system, said the American Bazaar report.

Immigration Voice, a non-profit working towards alleviating immigration problems faced by immigrants in the US, highlighted the two doctors’ stories to stress the alarming urgency of passing S.386 or Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act.

Thousands of Indians stuck in the green card backlog have been rooting for S.386, a bill aimed to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The bill seeks to eliminate the per-country numerical limits for employment-based immigrants and increase such limits for family-sponsored immigrants, and for other purposes.

“Congress must pass S.386 so Nitesh Jain who is fighting for COVID-19 pandemic is recognized for his skills and contributions to the community instead of being discriminated against for the country he was born in,” the organization tweeted. (IANS)


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