Who Loses When Donald Trump Suspends Immigration to the US? America and India, Both

Coronavirus

Who Loses When Donald Trump Suspends Immigration to the US? America and India, Both

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter on late Monday to announce that he would be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States, which has been under attack from the “invisible enemy”, and to “protect jobs of our great American citizens.”

The move by the Republican president effectively achieves a long-term Trump policy goal to curb immigration, making use of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis along with it that has swept the country.

The announcement drew swift condemnation from the Democrats, with Senator Kamala Harris accusing Trump of shamelessly politicising the pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.

Jerry Nadler stated that it was a move to distract from the President’s weak response to Covid-19 and pass on the blame to immigrants. “The truth is many immigrants are on our front lines, protecting us as doctors, nurses, health aids, farmworkers, and restaurant workers,” he tweeted.

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Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro hinted that cutting off immigration could hurt the nation’s already weakened economy, calling it a “dumb move”.

Indians working in the technology sector could be severely impacted by the immigration ban. In 2017, India accounted for most of the new workforce, followed by Mexico and China. A huge population of migrant workers from India head to work in Silicon Valley and the supply of talent could be cut because of the temporary ban.

“This will definitely impact immigration movements into the IT sector in the US from India and China, being two countries with large migration numbers globally,” said Latha Olavatth, an immigration specialist at Newland Chase.

According to Pew, almost half of immigrants live in just three states – New York, Texas, and California, home of Silicon Valley, where tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Cisco are based. “Now, with the immigration ban, more top Chinese, Indian and other foreign talent will seek jobs in tech hubs globally like Shenzhen, Seoul and Bangalore rather than Silicon Valley. They will push invention and innovation in software, hardware and in semiconductors,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of the China Market Research Group.

Infosys, TCS and HCL Tech share prices took a tumble in India after the announcement by the US President.

The H1B visa, which is popular among Indians working in the US, is a non-immigrant visa. It doesn’t seem likely that the H1B visa would be impacted but no new information on it has yet been received as we now live in the age of Twitter diplomacy, where policy decisions are announced in 280 characters, and the fine print arrives much later.

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