200,000 ‘documented dreamers’ are literally waiting a lifetime for a green card
After graduating — cum laude, both — Eti and Eva became experts on the US visa system.
Eva currently works as a financial analyst in San Francisco, and her employer sponsored her for an H-1B, the most common visa in Silicon Valley.
This H-1B is temporary, of course. It expires in 2026, unless her employer applies for a renewal or a green card, or she returns to her “home country”, a country she has visited but does not consider her home. country.
“We are, like, as American as American citizens,” Eva said. “We grew up here. We want to continue our lives here. We want to contribute to the American economy here. Everyone sees us as Americans equally, from our peers to my managers, etc. I think we are American in every meaning except on paper.”
“It’s so obvious to everyone but, for some reason, not to the US government,” Eti added.
Eti looked for a full-time job after college, but couldn’t find a company willing to sponsor her. So now she has an F-1, a university visa. “I’m a PhD student at Cornell University in New York, studying biomedical engineering,” she said.
After graduating from Eti, she will have to do the same thing Eva did: find an employer to sponsor her for an H-1B and then hopefully a green card. Essentially, they are both switching from one temporary visa to another to stay in this country.
There is a name for this dilemma, for what Eti and Eva have become: “Documented Dreamers”. Most of them are Asian, with about 70% Indian, according to the advocacy group Improve the Dream.
At a recent committee hearing in Sacramento, Eva testified on behalf of a bill introduced by State Senator Maria Elena Durazo of Los Angeles. “Senate Bill 1160 will allow visa-dependent students who meet existing eligibility criteria to pay in-state tuition at California’s public colleges and universities,” even after reaching the age of 21, Durazo said during the hearing.
This bill is not for the Sinha sisters. It’s for the students, the “Documented Dreamers” who come after them. Even though SB 1160 may not address federal immigration law, it may make the cost of a college education in California a little more feasible.
That’s good enough for Eva today.
“By doing it piece by piece, we can at least get things done. To have one big piece of legislation, which will definitely fix everything? The way our government is designed? It’s just going to take forever,” Eva said.