Washington, DC (January 4, 2018) — Hindu American Foundation (HAF) leaders sounded alarm over the Trump Administration’s proposal to deny extensions of H-1B visas to green card applicants, leaving them with no choice but to return to the country of origin or be deported. Media reports indicate that more than half a million workers from India alone would be affected, the vast majority of visa holders in this category.
“This policy seems squarely aimed at Indians workers in the United States – who also happen to be mostly Hindu,” asserted Suhag Shukla, HAF Executive Director and Legal Counsel. “It’s a baffling calculation. How would deporting hundreds of thousands of skilled workers, the very backbone of our STEM industries, in any way advance an ‘America First’ agenda?”
“With unemployment at record lows and severe shortages of labor to fill skilled technical positions, this proposal is certain to cripple the efficiency and growth of American businesses,” Shukla added.
Tens of thousands of H-1B visa holders also hold master’s degrees from American universities. Under the proposal children of H-1B visa holders, born outside the United States, are also at risk for deportation upon becoming adults.
“The proposed policy risks the loss of thousands of American educated youth who could become significant contributors and future leaders to society. This is simply anti-immigrant, and anti-American,” Shukla concluded.
Similar sentiment was expressed by leading Indian and Hindu American members of Congress.
“Imposing these draconian restrictions on H-1B visa holders will tear families apart, drain our society of talent and expertise, and damage our relationship with an important partner, India,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. “This proposal could lead to the deportation of an estimated 500,000 to 750,000 Indian H-1B visa holders, many of whom are small business owners and job creators who are helping to build and strengthen our US economy. This brain drain will stifle innovation and decrease our ability to compete in the global 21st century economy.”
Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), tweeted, “This is absurd. We need a complete #ImmigrationReform, including some changes to the #H1B program. But I have been on an H1B visa & know how [important] it is. To simply stop the extensions is lunacy, hurts our families & economy.”
Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “My parents came here on green cards. So did @sundarpichai, @elonmusk, @satyanadella. Trump is saying to immigrants and their kids we don’t have a place in America. It’s not just wrong. It’s dumb. Mr. President, would America really be greater without us?” Adding in a further tweet, “This Trump policy is not about fairness to American workers. It’s anti-immigrant.”
Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) said, “While our priority must continue to be improving advanced training for our domestic workforce, ending H-1B visa extensions would kneecap our economy and encourage companies to further offshore jobs, instead of making those investments here. I hope the administration immediately rejects this proposal.”