Letter to President Obama & USCIS re: Green Card Processing Delays and Immigration Reform

Dear President Obama,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter as I am sure you receive many. I am writing to you in hopes of promoting change to an issue that is close to my heart, and I believe close to yours as well.

As of November 2009, the current visa bulletins show a backlog of green card approvals all the way back to June 2002 for the employment-based third priority applications (EB3).

The effects of these delays are significant. EB3 consists of many young graduates such as myself, who graduated at the top of our class, who had to compete above and beyond the qualifications of regular graduates at every step of the way, who, like many former immigrants who came to America to seek a better life, are forced to make tough decisions in the face of these long waiting times. Some of us have been laid off, only to be given unrealistically short timeframes to find another job or go back to our home countries after decades of living abroad. Many of us simply wait in fear. Fear of the unknown and what might happen to us in the long years to come. In some ways, these restrictions stagnant those who foster ideas of entrepreneurship by preventing career change, growth and the risk-taking nature of American entrepreneurship that so evidently fuels the spirit and prosperity of this economy.

Intel, eBay, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems, Google and many other companies were all founded by immigrants who were welcomed by America. Over the last 15 years, foreign nationals have started 25 percent of U.S. venture-backed public companies, accounting for more than $500 billion in market capitalization and adding significant value to our economy. There is a wealth of talent and ambition hidden below the covers of these immigration laws.

I arrived in Boston when I was 16 and I still remember the day I graduated (I was 20 and still couldn’t have a drink because it was illegal!) in 2004. Last month I turned 26, and I realized that I have been here for over a decade. This is the longest I have lived in any country since being on many diplomatic missions around the world with my father. When you were young, your family also lived overseas, so I know you can relate to what it feels like to have a “home country” and to have a desire to prosper and pursue happiness there.

You once said among a crowd of young students that “here in America, you write out own destiny, you make our own future” and I hope that this can one day come true when college graduates can have a realistic goal of becoming permanent residences if they work hard and believe in all that this country has to offer. When you came to Google in 2007 you told us that you would support the H1b program as well as more and faster permanent residents for those who add value to this country. Many of us here at Google as well as beyond the valley were very excited, and we remain hopeful today.

A lot of people laughed when I said that I would send you a letter. They expect me to give up. They expect that you to not read this letter. They will expect that even if you do, nothing will change.

I would like to prove them wrong. I hope that if anything, this letter will allow for a moment of consideration for actions that will speed up processing times for employment based immigration, of which many of us have already sacrificed so much for.


Richard Wan

15 thoughts on “Letter to President Obama & USCIS re: Green Card Processing Delays and Immigration Reform

  1. “An EB-5 immigrant investor transferring from H1-B status obtained his green card in three months”.

    Although not open to every H1-B applicant, the EB-5 regional center visa can help those with the required amount of financial backing.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Letter to President Obama & USCIS re: Green Card Processing Delays | E3 Visa -- Topsy.com
  3. how do people actually end up writing letters to the president with any sorta chance of them being read? is it only letters mailed to the whitehouse addressed to the president?

  4. Hi Prad,
    Good Question 🙂 Probably thousands of people do it but I have a feeling reading is a stronger suit of this President than the previous one so it may be more likely to be read. I hope this one which was sent by the author does both get read and bring a moment of pause.

  5. This is not directly related to EB3, but since this forum is related to H1B too I would like to express my concern. I work for one of the world’s top public research university for the past 4 years and recently I went for my H1B renewal stamping and was issued 221g AAP without any valid reason and since then I never understood whats the criteria for issuing 221g. The processing times as I read many posts over the internet, seems very random and no one knows when their case will be approved and the backlog is increasing day by day. These applicants are spending their time with frustration and too much stress without knowing what happens and to their liabilities etc back in the USA. I would suggest the President to bring new regulatioins in steamlining the visa processing and atleast consider the applicant’s employment position and the reputation of the employer and prioritize the application processing based on the applicant’s status. I am still waiting for my case to be approved.

  6. Hi Kiran,
    If you have not already you should read our post on 221g administrative processing. Hopefully your wait is not too much longer but yes you do bring up a very valid point around another area of the US Immigration rarely spoken about in public circles. Unfortunately politicians rarely focus on things that are practical and more on just simple rhetoric. Given you were previously approved for your H1B visa, I assume you should be OK but I hope also your employer is understanding and patient during this time.
    Good Luck,

  7. I am tempted to write a similar letter to Obama about the EB5 visa. He mentioned reforming it on his campaign trail, but never acted on those words. It has been extended, and I am happy about that, but I would like to see some accountability from the President.

  8. Hi Green Card Visa,
    Again appreciate your passion for the EB5 visa but it is a very small part of the US Immigration system and to most foreigners is a far lower priority than much more fundamental and popular areas where reform is needed. I don’t recall the President on his campaign trail mentioning the EB5 visa by name or indeed any other visa barring possibly the H1B but then again I did not listen to every word he said.

  9. You should have gotten this letter proof read for grammatical errors. It hardly sounds professional!

  10. To BadJobWithTheLetter:
    I think the letter is well-written and heartfelt. It conveys all of the major points as well as a touch of personal sentiment. I can’t believe that the only comment you felt compelled to make after reading the letter was negative and not remotely constructive. Shame on you. Oh, and also, “gotten” is not a word, gramatically speaking.

  11. Hi Sweetchuck,
    Thanks for your comment. It is nice to see people like you here you are obviously constructive in your analysis and looking for a way forward with US Immigration rather than some of the other comments that like you pointed out are not constructive and hypocritical in nature.

  12. Dear Mr President,

    My daughter ( she is born in USA) is asking for bigger and own house I told her that buy the house after get Green Card . .but I told her It might take at least another 5 years that means when she turn 10 years now she is 5 years old. But looking at eb3 India movement I don’t think I can buy house after 5 years , I have been here since 2003.
    EB3 India get the green card at old age.
    Help eb3 category and have better housing market



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