Republican supporters in the Indian-American community continue to cite Kashmir and the Narendra Modi government’s Citizenship Amendment Act to make their case for the community supporting Donald Trump in the presidential elections.
Veteran Republican Dr Sampat S Shivangi told indica News that he was obligated to support Trump because he favored India’s abrogation of Article 370 (that gave Jammu and Kashmir the special status) and the passage of CAA.
If Trump gets elected, Shivangi said, he would remind the President of the promise to resolve the green card backlog.
A lifelong member of the Republican Party, Mississippi-based Shivangi has been an elected delegate since the time of President George W Bush. He is the founding member of the Republican Indian National Council, and serves on the Trump advisory council.
Shivangi said that the Howdy Modi event in Houston “transformed” the campaign. Prime Minister Modi openly supported President Trump for re-election and that really made inroads in the Indian community,Shivangi said, and the relationship became stronger when Trump visited Ahmedabad.
“He [Trump] openly committed to India and supported scrapping of Article 370 in a
sense — he did not directly say anything and did not oppose it. Compare that with Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris. They are still questioning about Article 370 to see if there were human rights violations and to investigate,” he said.
Shivangi said Trump’s silence punctured China’s plan to humiliate India over Article 370 and the CAA.
“So he [Trump] has saved India and we are grateful to Trump and he even went to India, making it one of the biggest success stories,” he added.
He lauded the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) with India, aimed at strengthening strategic ties in the face of growing Chinese
influence across the region.
He said that most Americans with roots in Gujarat support Trump. “Even most of the AAPI [American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin] members support Trump except four or five,” Shivangi added.
He did agree that the H-1B wage-hike was a niggle.
“We had a one on one meeting [with Trump] and presented the memorandum on Indian
doctors waiting for green cards and on H-1B visa and on August 10 we thought there will be a presidential order with some changes in the immigration system, and they don’t have to wait 50 years to get the green card,” Shivangi said.
However, defending Trump, he said in the job losses due to Covid-19, the President “cannot give jobs to H-1B holders.”
“The fees went up and I know the businesses are badly hit. It has also affected a lot of Indian doctors working in remote places. They are highly qualified,” he conceded. “Trump, if he wins, we have a chance to approach him and ask to keep his promise.”
Trump, Shivangi said, “will change the H-1B system and he would remove the country cap. Indians cannot get green cards because there are so many [applicants]. It should be merit-based not based on where you have come from.”
Shivangi took a swipe at Kamala Harris, saying that the Democratic choice for Vice President “never says I am Indian American.”
“She calls herself Asian American. She thinks if she says she is Indian American she will not get the black American vote and 15 to 20 percent vote compared to 1 percent Indian-American vote,” Shivangi said.