“Immigration in this country is a net positive, but I think it’s very important to regulate and control. A steady rate of immigration is key for stability and expectations.” Sam Mehta’s views on immigration may be conservative for an Indian national residing in the U.S. on an H1 B work visa, but they reflect his balanced view of his position in our world. Sam lived all over India before coming to Georgia Tech for a Master’s Degree in Transportation and Environmental Engineering. He went to work for Oklahoma Environmental Consultancy and lived in Norman OK for six years. “They were very efficient about initiating my green card application. I actually lived in Norman longer than anywhere else in my life.”
After a job shift, falling energy prices led to layoffs. Sam’s second emplyer gave him six week’s notice instead of severance, so he could line up another job: an H1B visa requires continuous work experience. He landed a job in Terracon and moved to Dallas immediately.
In theory, it takes six to twelve months to process a green card application, but INS approval times vary greatly from country to country. “It might be six months if you’re coming from a small country in Africa, but if you are from China or India it takes much longer, eight to twelve years. Sam’s initial application was filed in 2012; he is hoping to receive a green card by 2020.
The thirty year old football fanatic with a Professional Engineer license and good employment history thinks its a matter of when, not if, he can live in the U.S permanently. In the interim the biggest drawback are the travel restrictions on H1B visas. “I can travel anywhere in the U.S. but if I leave the country I have to get my passport stamped in India before I can return.” He recently passed up a trip to Iceland because it would cost too much money and time to include India on that itinerary.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I can tell you I would like the cities to be denser and more accessible. I would like our footprints to be smaller. I would like to examine our assumptions, in particular whether eating meat is necessary, and I would like our population to get smaller. Not sure I’m following my own advice since we’re eating pizza with sausage on it.”