WASHINGTON: Indians now feel that the US is no longer an immigrant-friendly country, a top Indian-American Congressman has said, amidst a series of controversial immigration policies by the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump has been pushing for the merit-based immigration system to reduce overall immigration to the US and serve the country’s national interest.
A merit-based immigration system, the Trump administration feels would admit the best and the brightest around the world while making it harder for people to come to the country illegally.
“One issue that certainly came up and is something that we all have to be mindful of is there’s a sense in India that America is no longer immigrant- friendly,” Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi told PTI.
The Democratic lawmaker from Illinois, Krishnamoorthi recently visited India as part of a Congressional delegation.
“Whether you are going to America as a tourist, as a business visitor or whether you’re coming here on an H-1B visa or whether you already are here and are seeking permanent residency, it’s just a different place in the current landscape,” Krishnamoorthi said, adding that this is the general sense about America in India now.
The White House has said the current immigration system jeopardises the US’ national security, reiterating its call to end the chain migration and visa lottery system.
“So, we as lawmakers, have to make sure that we live up to the fundamental principles that made America a special place, namely, we welcome immigrants, we treat them with dignity, and we don’t scapegoat any individual or group of people for any challenges that we may have economically.
You have to pull together and grow forward in the same direction,” he said in response to a question.
“I think so. I think that there’s a little bit more of that,” he said when asked if people in India, based on his visit, think that US is now more of an anti-immigrant nation.
“America’s image is largely positive in India. The polling data and other evidence would indicate that. However, we have to be concerned when a young Indian no longer looked at America as the only place where you would go to start a business or pursue your graduate studies and build a more prosperous future for yourself and your family,” he said.
There are other alternatives that have been merged and those places have taken advantage of the changes that have happened in the US.
“We have to be concerned because we want the best and the brightest to continue to come to America,” he said.
Krishnamoorthi said there’s more of a competition.
“I would like to think that the US is still a destination and is the most appealing or attractive destination. But on the other hand, if the Trump administration continues to make it more and more difficult for people to come here, whether it’s just a visit or to study or to potentially enter the workforce and helping enrich our economy and help Americans; we are going to push people away,” he said.