SAN FRANCISCO — Vishal Sankhla, an Indian engineer, is among those at the center of a storm over how to fix the nation’s immigration system.
Mr. Sankhla got a master’s degree in electrical engineering nine years ago from the University of Southern California, followed by a job at Cisco, then at a startup that attracted $4.5 million in financing from Silicon Valley investors. There was only one wrinkle: he was in the country on a temporary work visa, with no idea whether or when he would get permanent residence.
He remains in limbo, which preoccupies him almost as much as running his business. “It’s a constant distraction,” said Mr. Sankhla, who is 32. “You can’t really settle down because your visa status is uncertain.”
Silicon Valley is battling in Washington to make the immigration process easier for thousands of people like Mr. Sankhla, many of them Indian engineers, while also pushing to hire many more guest workers from abroad.