Donald Trump's green card promise to all foreign college grads a gimmick or change of heart? A reality check - Hindustan Times
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Donald Trump's green card promise to all foreign college grads a gimmick or change of heart? A reality check

Jun 21, 2024 03:13 PM IST

Even as several have thanked Trump for his outreach, his critics wonder, what will happen to "Buy American, hire American?"

Former US President Donald Trump, an ardent opponent of immigration, surprised the world when he declared that he will grant automatic green cards to all US college graduates if elected.

Even as several have thanked Trump for his outreach his critics wonder, what will happen to "Buy American, hire American?"(AFP)
Even as several have thanked Trump for his outreach his critics wonder, what will happen to "Buy American, hire American?"(AFP)

"Let me just tell you that it's so sad when we lose people from Harvard, MIT, from the greatest schools and lesser schools that are phenomenal schools also," Trump stated in a podcast.

"But what I want to do, and what I will do is if you graduate from a college, I think you should get, automatically as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country, and that includes junior colleges too. Anybody graduates from a college, you go in there for two years or four years, if you graduate, or you get a doctorate degree from a college, you should be able to stay in this country."

In a statement released hours after the podcast was posted, Trump's campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt said, “Trump has outlined the most aggressive vetting process in U.S. history, to exclude all communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges."

"This would only apply to the most thoroughly vetted college graduates who would never undercut American wages or workers.” he further added.

Indian Immigration community hails Trump's remarks

Trump's announcement was met with enthusiastic applause by Indian Americans who have been advocating for green card reforms. Indians are among the biggest victims of US visa and immigration laws. “For the first time, Trump has talked about improving the legal immigration system and about high-skilled talent from India,” Atal Agarwal, a prominent voice of immigration rights for Indians, told HindustanTimes.com. “It’s high time Indian immigrants support Trump since Democrats aren’t supporting the community.”

“Just on this point alone, I would vote for him and ignore his other shenanigans. It's a win-win. I was forced to leave the US because of precisely this issue...Inability to convert an H1B into a green card,” Suchit Ahuja, a professor at Concordia University stated.

However, this statement marks a significant departure from Trump's usual rhetoric on immigration. In the past, he has claimed that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country” and promised to carry out the largest deportation operation in US history if elected.

“Populist Trump strikes again! Now all an illegal migrant has to do is graduate from Phoenix University and wham-bam Green Card! Trump flip-flops on immigration, and I’ll bet MAGA just rolls over and accepts it!” stated a user on X (formerly Twitter).

Frank DeScushin, a Republican supporter on X argued, “Trump's plan to give any foreign student graduating a US college a green card, including two-year colleges, will increase the number of immigrants coming to and staying in the US, and increase the competition for college spots making it more difficult for American students”

So, can Donald Trump be trusted over green card remark?

He made similar promises in 2016 as well, then did the opposite as president and implement to curtail legal immigration. "Trump literally slowed down H1B renewals and cancelled the right to work for H1B spouses. This man is a liar. He will say anything to anyone." Anshu Sharma, Indian entrepreneur from California stated.

Trump made remarks like these in 2016 (one example below) as well, then did the opposite as president to curtail legal immigration. He has even termed H-1B as ‘very bad’.

During his presidential tenure Trump even proposed curbs on legal immigration such as family-based visas and the visa lottery program and went on to issue his “Buy American and Hire American” executive order.

While this proposal could potentially benefit many immigrants, including high-skilled Indian professionals, it raises questions about its feasibility and consistency with his past policies. Considering Trump has already irked his biggest Maga voter base after this statement.

Trump has a track record of making bold promises during campaigns, some of which have not materialized or have faced significant legal and political hurdles. His previous statements and actions, including aggressive deportation policies and derogatory remarks about immigrants, suggest a complex and often contradictory approach to immigration reform. Rhetorically seen the statement looks more like a strategic move to garner support from immigrant communities ahead of the election rather than an ideological shift.

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