Editorial

Donald Trump Can’t Be The ‘Trump Card’ For India?

Lets start from the covid19. As with every community in the U.S., Indian Americans have lost lives and livelihoods. Trump is not responsible for the covid19 virus, but his administration’s gross negligence has been at the root of the mass death and economic destruction. He did not take the virus seriously, and even downplayed it, going so far as to say it would “miraculously” disappear one day. Trump refused to recommend social distancing measures until mid-March and started talking about re-opening the economy well before the virus could have possibly been contained. Experts have said again and again that more testing is key to controlling the virus. Despite this, Trump has tried to pass the buck for testing onto states. Furthermore, at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump said that he directed his administration to slow testing down so the coronavirus numbers would not make him look bad. His staff tried to claim he was joking, but Trump himself later admitted he was serious. there is more to fear from the Trump administration than incompetence. Trump stokes hatred, and that directly impacts Indian Americans. For example, it was reported that instances of hate violence and xenophobic rhetoric was up by 45% against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Easterner, and Arab communities in the U.S. – in other words, against anyone who looks Indian – in just the first year of Trump’s presidency. Twenty percent of perpetrators invoked Trump in some way. 2018 saw the number of attacks on Sikh Americans triple, and it was also the deadliest year for hate crimes since Sept. 11, 2001. Then there is immigration. As early as 2017 Trump’s administration began dismantling the work-based visa system, “aggressively” denying H-1B applications. Now Trump is using the coronavirus as an excuse to freeze green cards for new immigrants and has suspended H-1B visa applications until the end of the year. Indians make up more than 70% of those on an H-1B visa in the United States, so our community would be disproportionately affected. But this has been in the works from the start of Trump’s administration – he and his supporters on Capitol Hill have continuously advocated for curbing legal immigration. Trump also put tariffs on Indian goods, and his last state visit to India failed to produce a trade deal. The U.S. has indeed sold some arms to India under Trump. But that pales in comparison to the fact that Biden was Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when the U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement was ratified.

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