Reports: India’s H-1B Workers Back Joe Biden for President

US Vice President Joe R. Biden pauses while speaking during a reception for the US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue Summit at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium September 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Indian H-1B visa workers in the United States are rooting for Joe Biden and hoping President Donald Trump and his pro-American reforms will get the boot, according to reports in Indian media.

“Many H-1B visa holders, according to Jeya Ganesh, are wishing for a Biden win,” said a report in IndiaTimes.com. “Biden would be the preferred choice for skilled workers. He established clearly that he would resolve the hurdles for tech workers,” he said, adding, “If Trump gets reelected …  Canada is one option I am looking forward to.”

At least 500,000 Indians hold H-1B visas or H4EAD work permits that keep them in a wide range of U.S. white-collar jobs — despite the exclusion of many American graduates from career jobs. Nearly all of those visa workers hope the federal government will quickly provide them with the huge prize of green cards and citizenship. But that process is facing political challenges as Trump pushes popular rewrites of the H-1B program to help younger American graduates get white-collar jobs.

The support for Biden among Indians reflects the same rational assessment made by poor migrants at the U.S-Mexican border. “Asylum-seekers stranded in Matamoros, Mexico, have a plea for voters in November: Elect Joe Biden and “get us out of this hell,” said an October 20 report from the New Republic:

“The most pressing concerns for many [migrant] Indians and [citizen] Indian-Americans remain immigration and H-1B visas and how the outcome of the elections impact these issues,” said IndiaExpress.com:

“If Biden-Harris prevail, the immigration situation will improve,” says [Manish] Kothari. “However, the H-1B situation could continue to be challenging because of how the State Department has changed under the Trump administration. It will take some time to undo these changes.”

Trump’s hostile immigration policies over the past four years have deeply impacted many Silicon Valley employees and their families. “Many workers had to return and this could continue in the next administration. Students who come to the US will be protected because new H-1B entrants from India will have more challenges arriving. We’ve already seen both examples of workers having to return to India and students rising to take available jobs,” explains [Nirav] Shah.

Pramod, who “has spent nearly 13 years in the US, said he would want to see Biden as the next US president,” according to the IndiaTimes.com.  “Biden is good. But I don’t want to keep my hopes up,” he said.

Indian students in the United States, many of whom cycle between university courses and visa jobs, also support Biden. “I personally feel that [Trump’s student visa reform] this is some sort of attack on the international students,” said Ratul Biswas, a University of Minnesota Ph.D. student from India. He told the Star Tribune that he hopes to land a job as a professor in the flooded market for U.S. academic slots.

“Of course Biden,” responded Ajay Bhutoria, a Democrat-aligned Indian in Silicon Valley, Breitbart News asked him who is the favorite of Indian-origin H-1B workers in the valley. “They don’t have a vote, but their voices are for Biden,” he added. In Silicon Valley, he said 80 percent of naturalized Indians are voting for Biden rater than Trump, partly because of the H-1B visas issue, he said.

“The community understands who the real friend of India is, who the foe,” Bhutoria told FinancialExpress.com. “Trump is a foe. … He has suspended the H1 Visa Programme [and] put trade deals with India in jeopardy.”

Many Indian Americans rationally favor the H-1B program. The huge program — and other visa worker pipeless — bring in at least 150,000 Indian visa workers per year, thereby providing Indian-run businesses with cheap and controllable labor and also expanding the cultural, economic, and political clout of Indians in the United States:

“Biden has clearly said he is going to raise at the H-1[B] program and increase it as the industry needs. He’s going to streamline the Green Card process in the first hundred days … so people in the Green Card [waiting line] can get the Green Card much faster,” Bhutoria told Breitbart.

On October 22, IndiaWest.com posted an op-ed appeal by Biden to Indian American voters:

I’ve always felt deeply connected to the Indian American community because of the values we share: duty to family and elders, treating people with respect and dignity, self-discipline, service, and hard work.

[Sen.] Kamala [Harris] is smart, tested, and prepared. But another thing that makes Kamala so inspiring is her mother, Shyamala Gopalan. We feel Kamala’s pride when she talks about her. She was from Chennai, where her father, Kamala’s grandfather, was active in the fight for Indian independence.

We also believe America is a land of opportunity. But it’s likely you and your family have been caught in the middle of President Trump’s crackdown of legal immigration and pathways to permanent residency and citizenship and his decisions on the H-1B visa program. And his dangerous rhetoric about immigrants has empowered white supremacists and even fueled hate crimes against Indian Americans.

Trump has also made much effort to win Indian American votes, particularly by helping businesses and cementing trade and security ties with India as its borders are challenged by an aggressive China.

Indian government officials also lean towards Biden, according to the Indian writer of an op-ed at CNN.com, who briefly noted the importance of the H-1B visa worker issue to India. “Indian diplomats say privately that handling the Trump administration has been complicated,” he wrote, adding:

If Biden wins, the Indian government can be expected to re-engage on climate issues, an easing of immigration restrictions and a resumption of less rancorous trade talks. New Delhi would also like to shore up sagging multilateralism and expects a President Biden to be less eager to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan, a major point of difference with the Trump administration.

There is also considerable vicarious pride in the choice of an Indian-American, Sen. Kamala Harris, as Biden’s running mate. One noticeable characteristic of the present campaign is the degree to which both candidates have gone to woo the Indian-American community. That the US is home to what is perceived by Indians as their most successful diaspora is just one more — and arguably the most lasting — reason that India and the US will remain close, irrespective of election results in either country.

Businesses and progressives praise open-ended legal migration partly because migrants’ arrival helps transfer wealth from wage earners to stockholders.

Migration moves money from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states.

Migration also allows investors and CEOs to skimp on labor-saving technology, sideline U.S. minorities, ignore disabled peopleexploit stoop labor in the fields, short-change labor in the cities, impose tight control on American professionals, centralize technological innovation, undermine labor rights, and get many progressive reporters to cheerlead for Wall Street’s priorities.

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