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Bush gives Indian immigrants hope

Jun 12, 2007 03:08 PM IST India India

Washington: All is not lost - that's the word from US President George Bush on the immigration issue. He's now looking to build a consensus with Republican senators on the contentious immigration bill that offered little of substance to the thousands of Indians in the US aspiring to immigrate to America. But even some action on this critical issue is better than none. So, India-American lobby groups in Washington DC say they're still disappointed with the Senate's decision to kill the legislation. With a 45-50 vote against the bill, the Senate killed the legislation last week. But while the 700-page bill may be dead for the moment, Indian-American groups in Washington DC say they will continue to lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill to make sure the legislation does not pass in its current form. That's because of a slim possibility that the bill may make it back to the senate floor sometime later this year. Anurag Varma, a DC-based lawyer, represents Immigration Voice. He says two important changes are high on the group's agenda. An increase in the Green Card quota for skilled immigrants and elimination of country quotas from employment based immigration. "Right now, seven percent is the cap on the number of total GCs that are available per country. Only four countries ever reach that cap and those are the counties that contribute the maximum high skilled talent to the US. And they are India, China, Mexico and Philippines,” he says. But Varma concedes that securing a change on Capitol Hill will not be easy and so groups like Immigration Voice are trying mobilise the community to lobby with the lawmakers and help out an estimated half-a-million Indian-Americans who as they say are stuck in the immigration quagmire.