Photo : Indian Americans Rally in support of Immigration reform
A thousand Indian-Americans rallied outside of the White House in Washington DC on Saturday to support President Donald Trump’s proposal to reform the US immigration policy on green card sponsorship. This is a rare pro-Trump rally that attracted marchers (with technical skills) from all over the country who are supportive of the President and who supported him in the Presidential election in 2016..
Currently, a US citizen or green card holder can sponsor family members – spouses, parents and siblings. Under Trump’s proposed immigration reform, sponsored immigrants will be based on merit (skills) rather than on family connection. The marchers supported the ending of what the Trump administration calls chain migration and the so called diversity lottery system. The marches claim that skilled immigration is needed to help make America grow to attain current standard of living.
The proposed reform will benefit skilled immigrants from India, Asian countries and European countries which is the preference of the President.
The rally was organised under the banner of the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), an organisation led by Chicago-based businessman Shalabh Kumar. Mr. Kumar is very close to Mr. Trump who attended a Diwali rally in October 2016 in New Jersey. President Trump also hosted Diwali celebration at the White House last year.
In Saturday’s rally, the Indian Americans raised slogans in support of the President’s proposal to implement the “merit-based system. The marchers at the rally called for a discontinuation of country quotas for Green Card approvals. Under the current system, Indian applicants for green cards under the family sponsorship are at a disadvantage. Currently, green cards are capped at 9,800 per country except for a few countries. There are some 50,000 green card applicants per year for India.
Indian Americans feel “merit-based” preference for immigrants would tilt the balance in their favour because most Indian Americans are skilled – the largest number of engineers, scientists, medical personnel. mathematician are of Indian descent. Some thirty per cent of America’s skilled immigrants come from India. But many Indian skilled relatives have to wait two decades for their appointment date for a Green Card.
Some of the slogans mentioned at the rally included: “Trump loves Hindus,” “Trump loves India,” “Trump bringing Ram Rajya,” “Indians love Trump”, "Cut Green Card Backlog".
A report in the Hindu newspaper stated that the marchers were mostly Indian technology workers who had come from all over the U.S. The Hindu news report quoted Krishna Bansal, National Policy and Political Director of RHC, as saying “Trump’s proposal to end family unification immigration would open up more space for Indian skilled workers. Nearly half of the one million Green Cards issued every year goes to close relatives of American citizens regardless of their skills and the Trump administration wants to restrict this practice”.