1st letter photo caption

File photo of President Donald Trump. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

President Trump's stricter enforcement of H-1B visa policies have stalled many Indian marriages of those boys and girls who are in the U.S. on H-1B visa status for the following reasons:

H-1B brides do not want to step up to those boys on H-1B visas who are facing "definite exit options" when their H-1B term expires. Because of age difference by a few years, the boys’ exit is sooner than later, with their H-1B term coming to an end soon; the brides' concern is, where will he go when his H-1B expires, what will he do and, more importantly, what "will I do if I get married to him and have a child or two?”

The biggest fear here that is daunting an Indian bride in matrimony to an H-1B boy is that she will have to convert her status into an H4, not being able to work legally any more in the U.S. What will she do at home when her husband goes away to work at 7:00 a.m. and returns from work at 8:00 p.m. every day? So, the H-1B brides avoid H-1B boys, and continue to court U.S. citizen boys and get "rebuffed" for reasons of cultural incompatibility. The U.S. citizen boys ask "why is she courting me?" "Is it because she can get a Green Card?”

H-1B boys similarly do not want to step up to brides who are on an H-1B because they too are asking, "what does an H-1B bride bring to me?" so they are reaching out to U.S. citizen brides, and often times, in a majority of cases, get "rebuffed" for reasons of incompatibility culturally, or she (the U.S. citizen bride) fears "the boy is courting me, because he wants a Green Card.” Many such marriages have ended up in "divorce" soon after the boy gets the green card. So, U.S. citizen brides are "loathe" to overtures from H-1B boys, besides cultural incompatibility.

Permanent residents (Green Card holders) are now no longer stepping up to H-1B brides, because it is taking them several years before they are able to file for her I-485 (final status adjustment) after the marriage — before which, if the H-1B visa of the bride expires, she is forced to return to India indefinitely, and wait at the other end until she gets her Green Card, before she can join her husband in the U.S. So, Green Card bridegrooms and brides are not that easily stepping up to H1-Bs any more or for that matter those who are on OPT or F1 student visa, L1 etc.

Previously, there used to be a category called H1B-GC whose Labor Certifications (I-140) have been approved and they could file their intent to become a permanent resident, making them eligible to marry spouses on H-1B, OPT or F1 or from India (including them into their GC petitions, making their spouses eligible to get their Green Cards eventually), because they could, in matrimony to these brides, convert their status from an H4 into an H1-B, and be legally permitted to work, under former President Obama's Executive Order issued sometime in May 2015.

Very recently, this rule has been legally challenged by American workers arguing that it takes away gainful employment from them (American workers). This petition came up for hearing soon after President Trump's swearing-in ceremony in late-February or early in March this year, at the Sixth Court of Appeals, and the Justice Department then sought an adjournment of the hearing for up to 60 days (some late February/early March 2017), wanting time to review the whole matter. When the 60 days’ time was over, and the matter came up for re-hearing once again, the Justice Department pushed back the Sixth Circuit Court with a request for another adjournment for 6 months "to delve into this matter deeper,” which ends somewhere around Thanksgiving Day this year.

So, those brides here in the U.S. on H1-B, OPT or F1 are unable to court those boys on H1B-GC (transitioning into a Green Card situation), under the Executive Order issued by President Obama in May 2015, because it is uncertain now how the Justice Department will argue the case, and how the Sixth Court of Appeals will rule in that case; and even if a ruling is given favorable to those transitioning from H1B-GC, it is uncertain if that would stick, as that ruling could be challenged once again before the Supreme Court by American workers, forcing "uncertainty" for another year or 18 months before the Supreme Court decides to "hear" or "to not hear the case" and rules on it.

As is the situation now, many brides who got engaged and married to boys on H1B-GC converting their H4 status into H-1B getting "legal work authorizations" are in a state of despair as to how the future ruling on this case could impact their matrimony and their ability to work in the U.S., and to get their green cards, and to cherishing their American dream to "live happily ever after in the U.S.”

H-1B and Green Card holders do not want to court L1's in matrimony because they feel L1's face a lot of complications in changing their L1 status while in the U.S.

J1 visa holder grooms are again not easily courted by brides who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents and those on H1-B, because of the two-year "stigma" that they have to return to India or spend 2 years in another foreign country, when their J1 term ends, before seeking a "re-entry" visa into the U.S., unless they can obtain a waiver, usually entailing a very tedious process.

For these very "uncertain" reasons, brides from India are not courting H-1B boys in the U.S. either in matrimony.

Meanwhile, the "saga" of the untold misery and anguish of parents living in India of Indian brides and grooms on H-1B and other visas in the U.S. "continues to linger,” many of them wondering "why their sons and daughters are not getting married" because they do not understand how these rules are impacting their children's matrimonial future.

Sashti Srinivasan

Garland, Texas

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