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For hundreds of thousands of young legal immigrants, the clock is ticking towards self-deportation.
Dip Patel was born in India, but after a stop in Canada, he legally came to the United States at the age of nine on his parents’ work visa.
National limits on certain employment-based visas mean that when over 200,000 — like Dip — turn 21, they age out of the system, are forced to wait in line for a green card, or even leave the country.
“Something that most people are not aware of is that it is possible that an immigrant child could be brought here legally, raised and educated here, but still not have a clear way to stay or a path to citizenship,” he said. Patel to TSWT. News.
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Patel and others in his group, Improve the Dream, have worked for years to make documented dreamers aware. TSWT News first interviewed him in 2019. Lawyers from both sides of the aisle are working to slow down the ticking clock.
“We’re called documented dreamers. That’s to emphasize that we’re kids who grew up here, but we did have some sort of documented legal status,” he said.
Iowa Republican Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks was one of the first members to raise her hand to help 18 months ago.
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“We need these young talented people. Unlike other people who come here illegally through no fault of their own, these young people are here with their parents,” she said.
Miller-Meeks helped draft what became the America’s Children Act. It was passed in the House earlier this year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate will vote this fall.
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If passed and signed by President Biden, Patel and other documented dreamers will have breathing room so they don’t lose their place in the long and ever-longer green card line.
“This is so important because we are your friends, we are your neighbors, we are Americans and we love this country.”