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