Merit-based immigration reforms, admission policies finally underway, under Trump


NEW YORK – The Democrats failed miserably to fix the broken immigration system, were content to let the Hispanic population swell, dream of illegal immigrants turning into massive vote banks through amnesty, transmogrify red into blue states, as the innards of America reached breaking point, resources drained from communities from unmitigated, disastrous influx from across the border. Legal immigrants were left in the lurch waiting for decades for a Green Card, hopelessness replacing hope.

The situation was a bit like instant voting rights granted by politicians to jhuggi jhopdi dwellers, in India, come election time, turn a blind eye to illegal usage of land and utilities; ignore pleas of original residents in the area.

If there was one thing Trump ensured he drilled into the minds and the sub-consciousness of American voters during his campaign was ‘drain the swamp’. It resonated for large number of voters; a metaphor also to remove illegal immigrants, reclaim resources for lawful residents, improve quality of life.

Turn back the depletion of resources created by inundation of schools and healthcare networks by illegal immigrants, cultivate wasteland into verdant greenery, by populating America with skilled professionals, tax-payers and home buyers, who contribute to society, not subsist, rely on welfare.

Now, finally, there’s hope anew for legal immigrants waiting in the doldrums for permanent residency, and for future generations of skilled workers who plan to emigrate to the US: an immigration bill tabled by two Republican Senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and David Perdue, of Georgia, ushered in by Trump himself, seeks to give a fair deal to American workers and legal immigrants, by cutting down on family-based Green Cards. Replace it with a merit-based system.

This would help legal immigrants in the US to get a Green Card faster, not wait in line for decades. It would also mean highly skilled professionals globally don’t need to rely only on the H-1B lottery system to make America their new home.

The new bill is likely dead on arrival. An earlier bill by the duo had not found any takers in the Senate, but what it does do, is to start vigorous debate on the subject of legal immigration reforms.

Only bits of the Cotton-Perdue bill may be included in the final version which comes out hopefully later this year, or early next year, merged with other parts of numerous bills introduced this year, with bipartisan support, or by Democrats.

However, if legal immigration reforms turn into law, it may well signify President Trump’s biggest achievement in his first four years in office; not upturning Obamacare or making a wall on the Mexico border.

It’s been a significant week for the Diaspora community, not just for the introduction of the new merit-based immigration bill, but also because of the Justice Department’s decision to investigate and file suit against Harvard and other top colleges for bias in admissions, to curb affirmative action policies based on race.

For the high achieving Indian American community, and other such communities, like the Chinese American community, this is a measure badly needed.

For long, the bitter grouse of many a family discussion in desi living rooms across the country is the frustration of slim chance of a brilliant student, who gets perfect SAT scores, has incredible extra- curricular activities notched into his resume, getting into a Ivy League institution, as he just cannot beat the odds of affirmative action, which seeks to promote diversity, give equal credence to less qualified candidates.

If the lawsuit is upheld in the Supreme Court, where it’s sure to land, it would mean more Indian Americans occupying top notch seats in Ivy League schools, which in the future would translate to more of the Diaspora youth getting on boardrooms of companies, heading top positions in virtually every profession.

This sweet cycle will only get better for the Diaspora in the coming decades if the merit-based immigration system is put into place, too.

It would mean more Indians in the US with higher degrees and top notch jobs, and less number of unskilled workers, those who rely on welfare. The Indian American community is at present the richest community in America in terms of median wage per household, which is in the six figures. Those numbers will only go up, if both the merit-based immigration system and anti-affirmative admission policies are put in place.

The underlying, critical idea behind both is the same: don’t punish hard-working Indian immigrants and Indian Americans for being good at what they do, at work or in academics.

Give that legal immigrant worker that Green Card which he deserves. Give a spot in that Ivy League class, because she deserves it. Admissions should be color blind. Period. Green Cards should be given within a certain time-frame. Period.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)




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