Trump’s Indian American Aide Defends His Immigration Policies

Trump is anti-illegal immigration, not anti-immigration, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said.


Raj Shah, the Principal Deputy Press Secretary at the White House, defended United States President Donald Trump after the House of Representative committee approved multiple restrictions on the H-1B visa program. The visa program was beneficial for outsourcing companies, which hired skilled workers from other countries to replace American workers at a lower cost to the firm.

Shah said Trump is not “anti-immigration” but “anti-illegal immigration.” Trump has taken a strong stand against undocumented individuals in America and companies using the skilled worker visa program to replace U.S. citizens.

According to the new legislation, which awaits Congress nod, American workers can no longer be replaced by workers from other nations in companies that are H-1B dependent.

“President Trump has put forward a pretty serious set of proposals on immigration; not just on enforcement but also about reforming the legal system to make it more merit-based right with ideas that work for the US economy and for the American worker,” Shah was quoted as saying by PTI.

“First of all, I don’t think that the rhetoric is anti-immigrant. I think it’s anti-illegal immigration,” he said.

“To ask for immigration to support the US economy, for asking for people who are coming here to be vetted for public safety or security threats, I don’t think it’s a very big leap. I think it’s very reasonable. The public supports that,” he added.

Shah also criticized media for its “unfair” portrayal of Trump’s policies. He said that the president has multiple ways of getting his message across.

“He uses it very effectively with Twitter and other social media…when he does a question and answer session we always say look the president is his own best messenger,” he said.

The U.S. administration is also considering doing away with H4 visas, which are work permits of spouses holding H-1B visas. The visas benefited mostly women, who were unable to hold jobs until the Obama administration in 2015 allowed work permits to be issued to certain people on the H4 visa. As many as 41,526 people received work permits between October 2015 and September 2016.

Indian companies like Wipro, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services are heavily dependent on the H-1B visa program. One of the restrictions approved by the committee includes raising the minimum wage of an individual to $90,000 per annum as opposed to the earlier figure of $60,000.

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