Now Reading
Championing the Resolution Urging Federal Government to Address the Backlog in Employment-based Green Cards

Championing the Resolution Urging Federal Government to Address the Backlog in Employment-based Green Cards

  • Being a state legislator with an immigration story has given me a unique opportunity: to elevate an issue and find common ground with Republicans.

In the state legislature, we regularly introduce resolutions to commemorate an issue or an event — on a particular day, a week, or a month. We also introduce other kinds of resolutions to urge action. For example, to urge Congress to pass a federal-level policy, or for the legislature to start a special committee.

Some recent commemorative resolutions introduced in the Michigan House this month include HR 261, a resolution to declare April 2022 as Financial Literacy Month in the state of Michigan; HR 265, a resolution to declare April 11-17, 2022 as Black Maternal Health Week in the state of Michigan; HR 268, a resolution to declare April 16, 2022, as Healthcare Decisions Day in the state of Michigan.

Other April resolutions include HR 260, a resolution to create a House select committee that would start a wide-ranging, bipartisan review of the way former Republican state House Speaker Lee Chatfield used the money to run his taxpayer-funded office. And HR 262 is a resolution to urge the United States Congress to expand the federal Family First Prevention Services Act by allowing flexibility in the use of Title IV-E funds to help children remain safely in their homes.

These resolutions each follow a different path: some are approved unanimously, like my resolution, HR 256, a resolution to declare March 22, 2022, as Michigan Water Day and World Water Day in the state of Michigan. Other resolutions are referred to a committee, where the Chair of the Committee determines if they will give it a hearing.

Resolutions can be accompanied by a floor speech, but only if it is voted on immediately. Floor speeches are used to sway viewers — from colleagues to constituents — about the value of a resolution, a bill, or an amendment. My latest speech for the annual resolution I introduced for World Water Day on the House floor was to encourage my colleagues to support it:

While getting an agreement on the importance of water in the Great Lakes State is not complicated, I am quite proud of HR 248, a policy resolution that I have championed that had a more complex path to introduction. It will probably have an even more rocky path to approval if it gets there at all. I introduced HR 248 with several Republican and Democratic co-sponsors, in order to urge the federal government to enact legislation quickly to address the backlog in employment-based green cards.

It started last summer with a conversation in Lansing: I shared my immigration story with my Republican colleague Jack O’Malley, and how decades ago, I had to wait for my permanent residency application to become current. I explained that my office gets many calls about immigration-related issues — from people in the district and also from immigrants across the state, who feel that as an immigrant, I will understand their challenges.

My staff and I must refer these to our U.S. Senator or Congresswoman, but even passing them through to our federal level representatives adds workload for our team that most state legislators don’t have.

However, being a state legislator with an immigration story has also given me a unique opportunity: to elevate an issue and find common ground with Rep. O’Malley, a Republican from the northwest side of the state, who represents a district vastly different from mine. He agreed that we needed to encourage Congress to fix this aspect of our broken immigration system, and reduce the wait time for the million-plus people living, working and paying taxes in the U.S.

Over several months, we agreed on what we would say in the resolution and identified and reached out to a wide range of potential stakeholders. The goal of the resolution was to increase awareness of the challenges caused by federal inaction and partisan political paralysis on a problem that affects so many South Asian immigrants and people from several other countries including Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.

See Also

Over this semester, our Policy Fellow, a master’s student from the University of Michigan’s Ford School for Public Policy, worked to develop relationships with advocacy groups, and the resolution was referred to the Committee on Workforce, Trades, and Talent.

The next step? Stakeholders need to advocate further and convince the Chair to give the resolution a hearing in the committee — and many others will get to speak. From the one story I shared, we will elevate the concerns of many, helping many more people understand the importance of lifting the per-country caps on immigration.

(Top photo, Twitter)

Padma Kuppa is the Democratic State Representative for Michigan’s 41st House District and has been just re-elected for a second term. A mother, an engineer from NIT Warangal, and an automotive and IT professional for over 2 decades, and a civic and interfaith leader for years, she is the first Indian immigrant and Hindu in the Michigan state legislature. You can reach her at Learn more at or

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top