SAALT Opposes President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national South Asian American advocacy organization, opposes yesterday’s Executive Order “Buy American, Hire American,” the latest in President Trump’s crackdown on legal immigration. We reject the premise that U.S. born and foreign workers should be pitted against each other to “ensure the integrity” of the immigration system and serve the national interest.

Over 70% of H-1B visas and nearly 84% of H-4 visas were granted to individuals from South Asian countries in FY 2016. Foreign workers are able to receive temporary employment in specialty occupations through the H-1B visa program. Spouses and children (under age 21) of H-1B visa holders are eligible for H-4 visas, which historically did not include work authorization. Under President Obama’s 2014 Executive Order on immigration, some H-4 visa holders were finally granted the ability to work.

President Trump’s Executive Order will continue to increase immigration enforcement presence by encouraging immigration raids at businesses and other places of employment, further underscoring this administration’s commitment to criminalizing immigrants. In addition to the singular focus on gutting the H-1B visa program through this Executive Order, we also find the Trump Administration’s recent court motion to revoke the hard fought employment authorization for some H-4 visa holders very disturbing. Both policies run contrary to core American values of respect for work and the right to participate in the workforce.

SAALT is disturbed by the intensifying efforts of this administration to profile, ban, and deport our community members whenever possible by leveraging the full power of every federal agency, including the Department of Justice, to do so. South Asian Americans, immigrants, and communities of color have worked hard to power our nation’s economy and contributed to the wealth of this nation. Yesterday’s Executive Order denies this fact and dishonors the legacy of immigrant workers in this country, past and present. The idea that the economic challenges of working class Americans stems from immigrant work, innovation, and entrepreneurship is nothing but a lie to us all and must be opposed.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org