This Indian Doctor Upset by Green Card Backlog Comes Back Home after 15 Years of Service in USA

Dr. Pranav Singh, an Indian Pulmonologist from Iowa, took a flight back to India from USA before the interminable green card backlog would have decided his fate. Fed up of the waiting period for legal permanent residency, he decided to go back to his roots in India after having called the US his home for 15 years. After the air bubble corridors were formed to bridge the travel gap between countries amid the raging pandemic, he took the drastic step of leaving the land of “American Dream” forever.

Dr Pranav Singh Mason City, Green card news, green card backlog

While hundreds of thousands of H1B professionals have been waiting for legal permanent residency, he got tired of waiting for the green card – which he describes as ‘indentured servitude’. He came to the United States in 2006 and did his medical residency in New York before he settled as a pulmonary critical care physician in Mason City, Iowa. His green card priority date was December 2013, since then he had been renewing the H1B visa. While the decision to leave the US was not easy for him, this phase of transition is a lot more difficult for his daughter, 16, who has been brought up in the US.

Needless to say, dependent children of Indian professionals on H1B visa age out of the green card process the day they turn 21. “If my daughter ages out, she has to self deport to India. Then she has to get an F-1 visa to re-enter the US. She will be at the mercy of the visa officer after living in the US all her life. In order to apply for a US visa she has to prove that she has no intent to immigrate. How is she going to do that? We will be happy to send her to any country for her studies but it will never be the US,” Dr. Pranav Singh said with a heavy heart.

It has been 10 months since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in to the office at White House, but the mounting of the green card backlog has not been curbed. The Indian H1B community pinned their hopes for legal permanent residency on the new administration at the US Capitol. At times, some bills, like RELIEF Act and EAGLE Act, were introduced as mere consolations for Indians on H1B visa, who have been awaiting the proposed elimination of country-wise limits on allocation of green cards, but nothing has yet come to fruition. “There is no political will to fix the problem. That’s why I left the country after a few months of the pandemic,” said Dr. Singh.

It would have taken Dr. Pranav Singh another 10 years to obtain legal permanent residency if he had continued to stay in the US, but his daughter would have been aged out and deported from the US. The pain of moving back to India is much lesser than that of being deported from the US.

In the first few months of the pandemic in the US, he took care of COVID-19 patients risking his own life. If something happened to him or if he contracted the virus and succumbed to it, his family would have lost the H4 status and faced self-deportation. This verity of an uncertain life for aliens in the US influenced his decision to leave the US and move back to India. In the United States, noncitizen nonimmigrants have no social security though they pay millions in taxes for years.

In March 2021, Indian healthcare workers and frontline COVID warriors who have been waiting for green cards over a decade held a silent demonstration at the US Capitol in Washington DC. They jointly protested against 150 years of green card backlog. Their slogan was “COVID warriors are dying in green card backlog; facing aging out children; going through family separation.” They held banners saying, “My parents are COVID Warriors. If they die, I get deported. I lived all my life in USA. Is this ‘compassionate’ immigration, Mr. Biden? End green card backlog now.”

Dr. Pranav Singh currently lives in New Delhi. He is working for a telemedicine company and trying to settle in India. His wife is still in the US as his daughter has to finish her 10th grade before relocating to India.

One thought on “This Indian Doctor Upset by Green Card Backlog Comes Back Home after 15 Years of Service in USA

  1. Kalpesh Mehta

    Please share contact details of Dr. Pravin Singh. I was in a similar situation like him. Just got my GC in 2019. Im sure I can help him out in his GC process.


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