Days after Biden’s announcement, Trump woos voters with Green Card promise


Just days after President Biden announced that undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens residing in the country for at least a decade can apply for expedited citizenship, a move that is likely to benefit the Indian diaspora, ex-POTUS Donald Trump — presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the upcoming elections in November — has stated that if re-elected, his administration will pursue a program to automatically grant Green Cards to foreign students upon graduation from American colleges and universities.

Students from India, the second-largest source country for foreign students, could be among the largest beneficiaries, if Trump is re-elected and implements this policy. Together with students from China, the top source country, they account for 53 percent of all foreign students enrolled in 2023.

However, the Trump campaign has already qualified the former President’s comments, stating shortly after that the program will use an “aggressive vetting process” to exclude “communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges (poor foreigners who are unable to fend for themselves and need government assistance)”.

Trump’s remarks came during a podcast with two Silicon Valley investors Thursday, June 20. When asked to promise he will bring the best and brightest from around the world to America, he agreed, saying: “What I will do is – 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.”

A Green Card allows the holder to stay and work in the US permanently as a permanent resident and is a step away from full citizenship. The US currently grants an estimated 1 million Green Cards every year and receives about 1 million foreign students annually, mainly from China and India.

If implemented, this proposal would double the number of Green Cards issued annually. However, it’s worth noting that during his previous term, from 2017 to 2021, Trump’s administration attempted to restrict immigration, particularly targeting Indians coming to the US on H-1B short-term non-immigrant work visas.

Currently, a large majority of Indian students in US schools and colleges go on to work for American companies on H-1B visas before obtaining Green Cards and citizenship. Notable examples include Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.

Trump’s proposal would essentially remove the H-1B or other work visa stage, granting foreign students Green Cards with their degrees.

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