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Doctors could leave U.S. over lack of a green card

Could Louisiana be at risk of losing hundreds, if not thousands, of doctors because the doctors don't have their green cards?

It appears that way.

A fascinating report recently from Washington, D.C.-based television station WUSA said that tens of thousands of doctors in the United States, immigrants from India, are at risk of closing their practices because of the wait for a green card. Many of them are family doctors in remote or rural communities, areas where residents could lose their access to medical care

Doctors typically receive an EB-2 visa, given to immigrants with advanced degrees. That includes people who work in the tech industry, engineers and others all competing for a limited number of green cards. And the perceived backlog for people from India is huge.

As of April 2018, more than 600,000 Indian immigrants were seeking green cards. Of them, more than 216,000 fell under the EB-2 category, and only 2,879 of them were approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services

"It would predict they have to wait at least 150 years, for their green card, we know they will have died, or get out of line, or find some other way to get a green card, rather than go through this insane process, but this is what they are up against," said an immigration policy analyst at the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C.

The report said some doctors are moving to places such as Canada with friendlier immigration policies.

The lack of a green card could have devastating impact on families. For example, those waiting for a green card whose children weren't born in the United States could be told to leave the country at age 21 if their parents haven't gotten that green card.

A USCIS spokesman issued a statement to KUSA and said there is no backlog.

"The truth is that these arithmetic tricks and fabrications are grossly inaccurate, and in effect undermine this effort. Applicants may contact us if they believe there is undue delay to the processing of their petition or application," he said.

These are difficult times for immigrants in the United States, even for those who have lived here for years and established careers and families. An immigration attorney can help those immigrants who need assistance in a variety of circumstances.

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