NEW YORK – On those days when there are no reported racist attacks on the Indian community in America, no cases of murder or physical assault, no yelling of ‘go back to your country’, spitting, no vandalism of homes or property with swastikas, paint and such, no mailers targeting politicians for their skin color, no bullying in schools, one need only read trashy so-called ‘right wing’, ‘conservative’ news portals like Breitbart to gauge if blatant racism against the Indian community is dead or alive in this country: you will, for sure, find it’s truly alive and kicking, at a furious pace, albeit in a frustrated manner.
An emphatic vote in the US House of Representatives this week to expedite Green Cards for those skilled workers who are choked in the immigration pipeline, was a moment of cautious joy for hundreds of thousands of Indian workers, and their family members.
These are workers who may have spent at least a decade in America or more, working at top notch companies, pay taxes, got married, had children, bought a house. Are as involved in their community and school district as any other American. Are model community members. Except, they don’t have a Green Card. Cannot truly feel integrated in society, feel vulnerable, scared of their life being uprooted if forced to go back to a country they left a long time ago. Worry how their children will cope if that happens. Agonize every night of what it means to be told that the wait for their Green Card is 100 years or more. Devastated by that thought. It debilitates their quality of life.
Really, what’s the need for a Green Card in a grave? What’s the point of paying social security if one is still waiting for it to begin as one doesn’t have a Green Card at the grand old age of 130? (considering science has made enough progress to keep some hapless H-1B visa workers alive till then)
Most of the Republicans in the House on Capitol Hill did the right thing though, on Wednesday: they voted to remove this discrimination and disparity that allows nationals from almost all other countries in the world to get a Green Card without hardly any wait time, except for mostly Indians, and some Chinese. Right wing or conservative, these Republicans paid heed to their conscience and sense of justice.
The vote margin of 365-65 that allowed passage of the ‘Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019’ or ‘HR 1044’, was emphatic in its verdict. The legislation now moves to the Senate where a bigger tussle awaits. The Republicans would find it hard to give victory on a platter to immigration legislation sponsored by Presidential aspirant Sen. Kamala Harris. And if, like their House colleagues, they too do the right thing, it would face the biggest hurdle of all: to get President Trump to sign it into law.
For now, what’s really sad to see is the vicious attacks against the Indian community in some sections of the press, which is nothing short of callous racism, careless and ruthless vilification.
Of course, portals like Breitbart have hardly any rational journalists who put out news after checking facts. Their bread and butter is to put out provocative news to suit their agenda, or whatever their thought process it is, to keep a job going.
Take for instance muck put out by Breitbart this week in a piece ahead of the House vote, focused squarely on the Indian community, warning of the great dangers that lie ahead for America: ‘Getting an American green card by age thirty is equivalent to winning the lottery, or being one of the first workers at Facebook, Google, or Microsoft, or discovering a suitcase of gold in your bedroom. It is a hugely valuable prize that will make each winner the most successful person in their home neighborhood, their grade school, their university class, and their extended family. It allows Indians to escape their 4,000-year-old caste status, their own country’s caste nepotism, the poverty, and petty corruption, to become AN AMERICAN! in just ten years — and it means their spouses, their children, their chain-migration family, and all their descendent forever become AMERICANS. This government bonus of green cards for H-1B workers creates a huge competitive bias against American graduates.’
The stupid bloke who wrote this piece (funny in a way because of his poor English, spelling errors and terrible imagination, and suggestive too of being written in a moment of rage with perhaps fingers shaking as it hit the keypads – no doubt thinking of a surge of Indians coming at him clutching a Green Card in one hand and a laptop in the other, screaming in tandem ‘Let’s Make America Brown Again’), also had this classic fake narrative to add to his ‘astute’ observations of why some Indians who have studied at IIT might want to come to America: ‘How can Americans win job interviews when they are competing against equally skilled Indians who will work for starvation wages, peanuts, and fruit salad?…”
Right, so H-1B workers usually come to America for a fruit salad! Really, what are those cafes in India doing?
Talking of starvation wages and peanuts, hope the bloke who wrote the piece is getting enough money to pay his rent, and getting benefits. He is no doubt making nowhere close to what most of the H-1B workers make. And he sure is not going to find a job in India, England, or anywhere else in the journalism industry. His English is too poor. No fact-checking. Zero sense of ground reality as a journalist. America is his best hope to make a living.
Fake news doesn’t only come from Russia. Most times, it emanates from home.
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)