US President Donald Trump, who has railed against America’s immigration policy, has done something that should please Indians looking across the seas to the “land of opportunity". The Beltway in Washington DC is agog with a policy revision he is expected to unveil for admitting people from others countries under American law. The US is likely to make “merit" a major criterion for immigration, and would represent a softening of Trump’s earlier obstinacy on the matter of incomers. The existing system accords preference to family ties. Under America’s new system, the well-educated who are capable of taking up relatively sophisticated jobs—say, Indian technology professionals—will have it easier.
A piece of legislation along such lines, the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, was endorsed by Trump two years ago with the intention of scrapping the old lottery system and putting in place a point-based system for earning a Green Card. Though it is not clear whether the current proposal is an extension of the old scheme, the broad direction of change is clear. And upper-crust Indians, by and large, like what they hear of it. After all, a large number of Indian citizens knocking at US doors are qualified professionals.
Though this proposal sounds sweet to our ears, it may face steep odds at the Hill, since the US Congress is deeply divided along partisan lines. Even if Trump manages to convince fellow Republicans, Democrats such as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are expected to oppose the shift. Opposition leaders are already chafing against Trump’s harsh rhetoric against not-so-well-off immigrants. Also, many Americans believe their policy should not deviate from the country’s original appeal to other countries’ poor and “huddled masses", their “homeless" and “tempest-tossed", as written on a plaque of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Well, given India’s degree-waving jobless multitudes, there are enough Indians who could meet all of the above criteria.