NEW DELHI: Donald Trump, President of the United States of America is
known for his stance against existing immigration laws of the country
which he says should be replaced with America-first immigration policy.
Indian expats in America have found themselves on the back foot
throughout Trump presidency on the immigration issue given how existing
policies have helped Indians study and settle in the US. So, it is in
diaspora’s interest to know what Trump’s contender in this presidential
election, Joe Biden, has to say about USA’s immigration policies:
Reforms in the temporary visa system
The Biden manifesto says that high skilled temporary visas should not be
used to disincentivize recruiting workers already in the US for in-demand
occupations. “An immigration system that crowds out high-skilled workers in favor of only entry level wages and skills threatens
American innovation and competitiveness”, says the statement.
Biden has assured to work with the Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and
establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages. He has
also said that he will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminate the limits on employment-based visas
If the Democratic nominee follows up on his manifesto promise, then this could reverse the damage that Trump’s H-1B visa banand Green Card suspension has done to Indian-Americans.
Currently, the total annual cap on Green Cards available for Indians is 20,000 which has resulted in wait time stretching for
Macroeconomic conditions should be taken into account for permanent work-based visas
Currently, the number of employment-based visas is capped at 140,000 each year, without the ability to be responsive to the
state of the labour market or demands from domestic employers.
While Biden favours expanding the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration, he also
emphasises on safeguarding America’s interests during times of high umemployment.
The manifesto says that Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employmentbased immigration—”and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high US
Green Card for Indian students enrolled in US universities
Biden has promised to exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programs in STEM fields in the US who he says “are
poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy”.
Biden believes that foreign graduates of a US doctoral program should be given a green card with their degree as “losing
these highly trained workers to foreign economies would be a disservice to our own economic competitiveness.”
Undoing Trump’s immigration policies Biden’s campaign has labelled Trump administration’s changes to the immigration policies as “draconian”, “national shame” and
an assault on American values and history of immigration. The Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris’ manifesto says
“Trump’s obsession” with building a wall does nothing to address security challenges and costs taxpayers billions of dollars.
Biden’s mission statement on immigration acknowledges immigrants as most valuable competitive advantage of the US which
it substantiates by quoting a research that suggests“the total annual contribution of foreign-born workers is roughly $2 trillion.”